„Standards are at the core of the EU single market“ – With this statement, the EU Commission commits itself to the strategic as well as economic benefits of standardization in the context of the publication of the EU standardization strategy on February 2, 2022.
figawa agrees that only agile and high-quality standardization can achieve the EU's political objectives, such as maintaining European competitiveness in global comparison and protecting technological sovereignty. Without a standardization system that adequately reflects the EU's policy priorities, the environmental transformation towards a climate-neutral and circular economy and the accompanying ambitious goals of the EU Green Deal cannot be achieved.
What is clear is that in the past, the strategic importance of standards has not been adequately recognized, at the expense of EU leadership in rulemaking. As the European standardization system often fails to deliver results in a timely manner, innovation is slowed down and important benefits of technology leadership through standardization are lost. Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, which form the backbone of numerous industries in Germany, are important drivers of innovation in standardization, but their access to and involvement in standards development is in great need of improvement.
As a representative of a broad spectrum of companies in the gas and water sector and as an active participant in numerous European standardization projects, figawa welcomes the fact that these challenges are now to be addressed by implementing a number of strategic measures.
In particular, we support the implementation of the following measures of the EU standardization strategy:
- Immediate response to urgent standardization issues.
The Commission will issue standardization mandates as outlined in the 2022 Work Program, engage with stakeholders in a timely manner, and provide financial support for the work.
- More efficient priority setting and improved international coordination.
- Faster and better responses to the needs of innovators and users
- Identify needs for revising existing standards or developing new ones
Establish a new high-level forum of representatives from member states, standards organizations, industry, civil society and academia that will
- work to strengthen technical expertise and competence in the field of standardization and will work closely with existing expert groups,
- involve the European Parliament and the Council in discussions to ensure policy coordination.
- initiate a review process of already existing standards together with the Commission.
- Better coordination and use of existing expertise.
Establish an EU Center of Excellence for Standards to work closely together to anticipate future standardization needs, support work in priority standardization areas, and monitor international standardization activities. By creating the function of a Senior Standards Officer, to guide the work and ensure overall oversight and coordination of the various standardization activities within the Commission.
- Greater involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises
The Commission invites the European Standards Organizations to submit proposals by the end of the year to modernize their regulations in order to eliminate unbalanced and non-transparent representation of industry interests. The Commission will also launch a peer review to share best practices and promote new ideas on how to create SME-friendly conditions.
- Early involvement of the research and innovation community in standards development.
The Commission will launch the Standardization Booster, a platform to help researchers assess the relevance of their research results for standardization. Involving the research and innovation community in standards development at an early stage provides an opportunity to build expertise and skills in standardization.
- Ensuring future standards expertise
Organize university days to promote standards awareness among academics and students. Using Horizon Europe initiatives for young researchers and networks. Using the Commission's EU Academy platform to disseminate training materials to attract and train young professionals in standardization.
After a thorough evaluation of the standardization strategy, figawa will prepare its own concept on how to best support the aforementioned measures in order to remain a reliable and active partner in European standardization work in the future.
The EU standardization strategy for download at https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/48598.