The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) is a public standards organisation whose mission is to foster the economy of the European Single Market and of Europe in global trading.
Its national members work together to develop European Standards in various sectors to build a European internal market for goods and services. The CEN is officially recognised as a European standards body by the European Union, the European Free Trade Association and the United Kingdom for sectors other than the electrotechnical sector (CENELEC) and telecommunications (ETSI).
The CEN is contributing to the objectives of the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) with technical standards which promote free trade, the safety of workers and consumers, interoperability of networks, environmental protection, or public procurement. An example of harmonised standards is those for materials and products used in construction and listed under the Construction Products Directive/Regulation.
Contractors are significantly affected by standards. They need to be represented in the process of developing standards, which is both time-consuming and costly. FIEC and its member federations influence the standardisation process at EU and national level in several ways. These include FIEC’s role as a CEN Partner Organisation with observer status on the CEN Technical Board and on CEN Technical Committees (TCs) and Working Groups. FIEC also participates in the CEN Construction Sector Network Core Group. Its member federations participate in the respective national mirror committees and also by lobbying the national standardisation bodies in their own countries.
In 2022, the European Commission published its new standardisation strategy. The strategy proposes a series of actions aimed at ensuring European leadership in global standards, making standardisation a driver of European competitiveness and resilience, ensuring standards support EU investments in the green and digital transitions and embedding democratic values in technology applications.
In 2022 and 2023, the standardisation process and the “backlog of standards” at EU level were one of the major topics discussed in the context of the revision of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). In addition, the European Parliament adopted a so-called “own-initiative report” in May 2023 in which it made a series of recommendations to make the standardisation process more efficient. It also called for SMEs to be better taken into account in the process.