Thursday, 22 March 2012

Standardisation for consumers' sake

The European Parliament is preparing a draft regulation that would modernise the European standardisation process (EU standardisation work: let small firms and consumers join in, says committee). Nowadays, companies who produce and sale EU goods and services may choose to work with various standards (local, national, or European). Upon the adoption of the new regulation the process of development of EU standards would be modernised. EU standards are voluntary, but a company who adopts them may rest assured that their goods and services are meeting legal requirements within the EU. Member States may not hold standards that would conflict with the EU standards (outside the social services and public health sector). That helps standardise procedures for companies distributing their goods among many Member States, and to lower transaction costs, though the last one would only fully take hold if Member States were forbidden to introduce additional standards beyond the European ones. The main benefit for consumers is that the goods bought within the EU market that conform to these standards are interoperable and compatible. The newly drafted rules aim to assure participation of consumer organisations (as well as that of SMEs), including people with special needs, when new EU standards are to be established. The amendments proposed by the IMCO may be found here.

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