The way forward for the New Approach - a BusinessEurope strategy paper
In a competitive global environment, it is of great importance that the EU provides a legislative framework allowing for innovation and rapid response to changes in the marketplace and business models. In order to do so, regulation should be implemented in ways that draws on expertise from industry experts and users. The New Approach to technical harmonisation allows for such flexibility and stakeholder inclusion. It worked well over the last decades and is worth maintaining for the future.
- Harmonised European standards (hENs) are essentially a consensus by stakeholders on how to both meet market needs and comply appropriately with regulation. Balance should be restored between the role hENs play to meet market needs in developing state-of-the-art technical solutions, and their role to support compliance with harmonised EU regulations.
- In view of existing problems with the functioning of the New Approach to technical harmonisation a fundamental discussion on standardisation and the role of industry is necessary. Industry is and should remain a key actor in this process. Not only do they provide the necessary technical know-how, but also manufacturers are the main end-users of hENs when they implement the standards in their products.
- The problems with the functioning of the New Approach are the result of a contested interpretation of EU Regulation 1025/2012 following recent case law of the European Court of Justice. In order to safeguard continued industry participation in the standardisation process, it is necessary to ensure both a swift publication of the reference to the hENs in the Official Journal, and sufficient flexibility in the Commission standardisation request to ensure market relevance.