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Swedish industry concerned by direction of EU standardization policy

The Standardization Package presented earlier this year is not fit for purpose. While supportive of a strategic approach to standardization, the Association of Sweden Engineering Industries (Teknikföretagen) stresses that the package fails to address the current issues facing the standardization system. Rather, the actions proposed may exacerbate already negative trends in EU standardization policy.

Joel Jonsson, Director EU Single Market and Trade Policy at Teknikföretagen. Photo: Nathalie Olausson and Erik Thor
Joel Jonsson, Director EU Single Market and Trade Policy at Teknikföretagen. Photo: Nathalie Olausson and Erik Thor

On February 2nd, the European Commission presented a new Standardization Package, containing both a standardization strategy and a legislative amendment to the standardization regulation (No 1025/2012). Teknikföretagen, representing over 4,300 member companies that account for one third of Sweden’s exports, has for a long time been a vocal critic of the direction of EU standardization policy, repeatedly voicing concern of an increasingly prescriptive approach by the European Commission that is detrimental to innovation and a globally competitive European industry.

– 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, says Joel Jonsson, Director EU Single Market and Trade Policy at Teknikföretagen.

In the strategy, the European Commission reasserts its intention to use implementing acts to draft technical specifications in cases when harmonized standards are absent or deemed insufficient. These are to be drafted by a newly established body comprised by experts within the Commission. The Commission also expresses an ambition to precede the market by anticipating future standardization needs, possibly circumventing the stakeholders involved in the European standardization system.

Apart from hampering innovation, an overuse of technical specifications would severely diminish the ability to align European and international requirements, creating barriers to trade and 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.

Teknikföretagen calls on the European Commission to engage in meaningful dialogue with industry and the European standardization organizations to remove bottlenecks in the system for developing harmonized standards, based on the recommendations provided by European industry. Teknikföretagen stresses that the primary objective of European standardization should be responsiveness to technical advancements while ensuring alignment with international standards.

  • Teknikföretagens remarks on the Standardization Package can be found here.
  • Teknikföretagens feedback on the European Commission’s roadmap for the standardization strategy can be found here.
  • Joint Industry recommendations for effective harmonized standardization can be found here.