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Research and analysis item

SMEs and standardisation in Europe


Every year, more than 1,000 European standards are adopted by the three European standards organisations: CEN, CENELEC and ETSI. Although the standardisation process formally allows for participation and input from all interested stakeholders via the national standards bodies (NSB) or via direct participation, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and craft enterprises are often not aware of what is going on in standardisation and of its importance. This factor and the specific constraints of SMEs in terms of human resources and finance, lead to a relatively low active participation of SMEs in the standardisation process. The specific interests of SMEs therefore risk not being properly taken into account in the resulting standards, which SMEs only learn about after publication as national standards in their own language.

For several years, the European Commission has undertaken activities to promote SMEs’ participation in the standardisation process. This study aims at collecting information on services provided in European countries for improving the innovative capacity and thus competitiveness of craft and small and medium-sized enterprises through European standardisation. This implies improving the information, participation and promotion of SMEs and craft businesses interests within the European standardisation process. This study also aims at collecting comprehensive information on national actions and support measures implemented by national administrations, national standards bodies and SME and craft organisations and sectoral professional organisations or associations. Subsequently good practices have been identified.

The action concerns 32 countries: the current 25 Member States of the EU, the three EEA states of EFTA (Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland), the Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, as well as the Candidate Countries Croatia and Turkey. The findings of the study are presented in this report to enable stakeholders across Europe to learn form the experiences in the different countries. Chapters 2 to 4 provide background information: in Chapter 2 a short overview of the nature of European standardisation is given; in Chapter 3 the importance of standards and the standardisation process for SMEs is highlighted; whereas Chapter 4 gives an impression of the activities of the European Union with respect to standardisation. Chapter 5 discusses the selection of good practices of policies and actions to promote the participation of SME and craft enterprises in standardisation and the use of standards. The main delivery of the study is presented in Chapter 6: the selected good practices. Conclusions and some policy recommendations are given in the Summary, conclusions and recommendations. Annex I provides a list of abbreviations and organisations and Annex II list the Euro Info Centres that are active in this domain.

This content is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Key Information

Name of organisation: European Commission
Type of organisation: Government

Date published: 1 Oct 2066


Domain: Horizontal
Type: Report

Type of organisation:

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