SBS welcomes early phase of the standardization strategy implementation

On 16 November, Small Business Standards (SBS) published a position paper on the standardization strategy published by the European Commission in February 2022, to welcome the strategy’s strong focus on SMEs and inclusiveness in the first stages of its implementation.

Overall, SBS supports the strategy’s commitment to a more inclusive, transparent and effective European standardization system and appreciates the first steps that have been taken over the last few months to implement its measures. Although there have been advances towards inclusiveness, SBS considers that there is still room for improvement to ensure the effective representation of SMEs in standardization and makes a series of proposals in this regard.


According to SBS, standardization bodies should be encouraged to further work with SME associations to ensure the representation of SME interests in their work. SMEs tend to rely more than large companies on business associations to represent their interest in standardisation.


The SBS position paper also calls for increased participation of SMEs in standardization at the national level to achieve a more balanced and inclusive European standardization system and to influence international standards. SBS supports the launch of a peer review process between Member States and national standards bodies to identify best practices and those areas where SME participation at the national level could be further improved.


To ensure further involvement in standardization by SMEs, SBS calls for the creation of a one-stop-shop to monitor and keep track of developments at the national, European and international levels.


An important obstacle to the participation of SMEs in standardization is the availability of resources. For this reason, the EU and EFTA provide financial support to the participation of SMEs at the European and international levels. Additional financial support should be provided at the national level for the participation of SMEs and SME associations. Also, funding and support schemes should be available to help SMEs to buy and access standards at special rates and help them with their implementation. In general, regarding the future steps of the implementation of the strategy, SBS calls for a stronger focus on measures to favour the uptake and implementation of standards by SMEs in their economic activities.


Regarding some of the implementation measures that are already getting under way, SBS welcomes the creation of the High-Level Forum on European standardization and stresses the need for a strong representation in the forum.


As for the upcoming evaluation of Regulation 1025/2012, whose launch has been announced for the end of 2022, SBS supports its content and believes there is no need to proceed with the Regulation’s revision or additional amendments to its main provisions. There is rather the need to implement all provisions effectively, particularly Articles 5 and 6 on stakeholder participation and access to standards at the national level. SBS is looking forward to contributing to the evaluation and providing its views in more detail.


Giovanni COLLOT


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