German, Italian and Swedish business communities call for action to strengthen European capacity in setting global standards
To enable industry to contribute to highly set political objectives, such as the twin transitions and increased resilience, the EU needs an innovation-friendly legislative framework. It is also key for setting international standards, according to a joint position paper from organizations representing German, Italian and Swedish industry.
Earlier this year, the European Commission presented a new strategy on standardization to strengthen Europe’s ability to set global standards in support of a resilient, green and digital EU Single Market. The Federation of German Industries (BDI), the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria), and the Association of Swedish Engineering Industries (Teknikföretagen) have now presented a joint position paper with concrete proposals on the implementation of the standardization strategy, which was shared with the EU institutions last week.
European industry organizations have been critical to the current direction of EU standardization policy, repeatedly voicing concern for an increasingly prescriptive approach by the European Commission that hampers innovation.
- Unfortunately, the Commission not only fails to address the current systemic issues we are experiencing, but risks making the EU legislative framework less responsive to new technological advancements, said Joel Jonsson, Director EU Single Market and Trade Policy at Teknikföretagen, in a comment on the strategy.
Teknikföretagen has also cautioned that a potential over-use of so-called common specifications drafted by the European Commission can diminish the ability to align European and international requirements and lead to technical barriers to trade limiting market access for European industry.
- This may exacerbate a politically driven decoupling process that is detrimental to the global competitiveness of European industry, says Joel Jonsson.
The concerns for the development are echoed in the joint position paper from BDI, Confindustria and Teknikföretagen. Rather, the organizations stress the importance of a market-driven and inclusive standards development process in Europe, as key to strengthening European capacity in global standards setting.
The joint position paper calls for actions to ensure industry representation in decision-making on standardization policy, removing bottlenecks in the system for developing harmonized standards in support for EU legislation, and avoiding diverging technical requirements in European and international standards.