European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization

European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC)

It is responsible for standardization in the electrotechnical engineering field. The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization prepares voluntary standards, which help facilitate trade between countries, create new markets, cut compliance costs and support the development of a Single European Market.

The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization creates market access at European level but also at international level, adopting international standards wherever possible, through its close collaboration with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), under the Frankfurt Agreement.

The Frankfurt Agreement

After 20 years of a fruitful partnership that has resulted in a very high level of technical alignment (close to 80% of the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization standards are identical to or based on IEC publications), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization and IEC have reconfirmed their longstanding cooperation on 17 October 2016, by signing the Frankfurt Agreement. Building on the experience of both partners, this new agreement preserves the spirit and approach conveyed by the Dresden Agreement, in particular the strategic commitment of the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization to supporting the primacy of international standardization. It includes several update aiming to simplify the parallel voting processes, and increases the traceability of international standards adopted in Europe thanks to a new referencing system.

European Standards Organization

In an ever more global economy, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization fosters innovation and competitiveness, making technology available industry-wide through the production of voluntary standards.

Through the work of its members together with its experts, the industry federations and consumers, European Standards are created in order to encourage technological development, to ensure interoperability and to guarantee the safety and health of consumers and provide environmental protection.

Designated as a European Standards Organization by the European Commission, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization is a non-profit technical organization set up under Belgian law. It was created in 1973 as a result of the merger of two previous European organizations: the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization and CENEL.

Function

The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization acts as a platform for experts to develop European Standards (ENs), which facilitate world trade by removing barriers to trade, enhancing economic growth and leading to new markets.

CENELEC objective is to agree on common specifications to respond to the needs of industry, meet consumer expectations and contribute to the consolidation of the European Single Market.

The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization is strongly committed to:

  • Satisfy the needs of the European industry and other stakeholders in the market place in the areas of standardisation and conformity assessment in the fields of electricity, electronics and associated technologies.
  • Lead the improvement of all aspects of product quality, product safety, service quality and service safety in the fields of electricity, electronics and associated technologies, including protec­tion of the environment, accessibility and innovation, and so to contribute to the wel­fare of society.
  • Support IEC, the International Electrotechnical Commission, in achieving its mission: “To be globally recognised as the pro­vider of standards and conformity assessment and related services needed to facilitate international trade in the fields of electricity, electronics and associ­ated technologies.

CENELEC standardization making process is a transparent, consensus-based and open system relying on the full commitment of the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization members to implement ENs nationally, which ensures full harmonization of the Single Market and makes the European Standardization System (ESS) unique.

The economic benefits of standardization contribute to growth of all economic and societal actors. Standards belong to the knowledge economy that underpins European industry and society. European standardization is a key instrument for recovery of the European economy.

The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization and its National Committees (NCs) work jointly in the interest of European harmonization, creating both standards requested by the market and harmonized standards in support of European legislation.

The standardization system aims to increase market potential, encourage technological development and guarantee the safety and health of consumers and workers, as well as contribute to a greener world.

The standardization process

European Standards (ENs) are based on a consensus, which reflects the economic and social interests of 34 CENELEC Member countries channelled through their National Electrotechnical Committees (NCs). Most standards are initiated by industry. Other standardization projects can come from consumers, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) or associations, or even European legislators.

Besides European Standards, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization produces other reference documents, which can be developed quickly and easily: Technical Specifications, Technical Reports and Workshop Agreements.

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