CEN and CENELEC celebrates Europe Day: a look back at the shared history of the European Union and European Standardization

Every year, the European union celebrates 9 May as Europe Day, marking the Schuman declaration and commemorates the historical events that lead to the creation of the European Union. CEN and CENELEC are proud of their long history of contributions to the European Single Market and of their partnership with the European Institutions.

This Europe Day, CEN and CENELEC look back on our shared history with the European Union and the key events in the evolution of both the EU and CEN and CENELEC.

  • 9 May 1950 The Schuman Declaration proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, precursor to the European Union.
  • 25 March 1957 The signing of the Treaty of Rome, creating the European Economic Community
  • 10 June 1960 Representatives from ISO and IEC members in the European Economic Community and EFTA countries agreed to the creation of two European Standardization Organisations, CEN and CENEL (later CENELEC).
  • 1973 Creation of CENELEC because of the merger of two previous European organizations: CENELCOM and CENEL
  • 13 November 1984 The General Guidelines for Cooperation between the European Commission and CEN and CENELEC were agreed. While standardization is a voluntary and independent activity, these guidelines first recognised the important role that standards can play in public policy and supporting legislation.
  • June 1991 The Vienna Agreement on Technical Co-operation between International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and CEN was published, setting out principles for collaboration between the two organizations.
  • 1 January 1993 Creation of the European Single Market. CEN and CENELEC play a central role in the Single Market. Standards ensure that products sold in the European Single Market meet the highest levels of quality and safety, increasing the trust of consumers all over the continent. Harmonised standards (hENs) provide presumption of conformity for those selling within the European market and enable the implementation of European legislation.
  • 1 November 1993 The European Economic Community becomes the European Union when the Maastricht Treaty comes into effect.
  • 28 March 2003 The signing of the Basic Cooperation Agreement between CEN, CENELEC and ETSI and the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association.
  • 9 July 2008 Adoption of the New Legislative Framework (NLF) for the European Single Market. It has enabled the development of standards in support of legislation in a swift, efficient, and open manner. Through the NLF, standardization has become a critical resource in building the Single Market.
  • 25 October 2012 Regulation 1025 on European Standardization was adopted. This act established rules governing the cooperation between European standardization organisations and the European Union concerning standardization deliverables in support of EU legislation.
  • 14 October 2016 Signing of the revised International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and CENELEC agreement, known as the Frankfurt Agreement. This agreement was an update of the first agreement on common planning of new work and parallel voting that was approved in 1991 and referred to as the Lugano Agreement.
  • 1 February 2021 CEN and CENELEC Strategy 2030 set out the strategic agenda for 2021-2030 within the context of the twin digital and green transitions, to ensure that our standardization systems and services serve as catalysts for the radically transformative growth trajectory which Europe has embarked upon.
  • 2 February 2022 The European Standardization Strategy was adopted by the European Commission, outlining a new vision for European standardization that reflected new geopolitical considerations and the need to leverage the use of standards for the twin transition.
  • 20 January 2023 First meeting of the High-Level Forum on European Standardization. The High-Level Forum seeks to bring together the variety of expertise that the European Union has in standardization and raise the profile of standardization issues to a wider audience.

The longstanding public-private partnership between CEN and CENELEC and the European Union has enabled the growth of the Single Market and fostered innovation among European companies. The European Standardization System is considered a best practice in standards making across the world and the interaction between European and international standardization has boosted European competitiveness globally.

Europe Day is a celebration of the great progress that the European Union has achieved. On the occasion of the 30 years Anniversary of the Single Market, CEN and CENELEC look forward to continuing to be a part of this journey.


CEN and CENELEC are proud to contribute to the Single Market, helping Europe achieve its ambitions and promises. Stay tuned to learn more about the different roles standards play in the Single Market with our 30 Years of Standards Supporting the Single Market campaign or join the conversation through the hashtag #SingleMarket30.


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