Monday, 2 January 2012

EU legal reform on European Standardisation – broad support from ICT stakeholders for the ICT paragraph in the draft Regulation

Just before Christmas ten stakeholder organisations in ICT standardisation joined forces for a joint submission on the passages on ICT standardisation in the draft Regulation that was presented by the European Commission and is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and the European Council. The joint submission makes a clear statement in favour of the approach proposed by the Commission. I uploaded the joint submission on slide share:

Essentially, the approach proposed by the Commission with Articles 9 and 10 in the draft Regulation
  • is lean but contains the necessary checks and balances and accommodates all needs of public authorities;
  • is widely supported by relevant stakeholders and ensures transparency and broad stakeholder involvement;
  • has all potential to promote interoperability in ICT in Europe which will have positive effects on competitiveness, innovation and growth;
  • is necessary for effective policy making in Europe where ICT are involved;
  • is necessary for public authorities to purchase state-of-the-art technologies.

There is a debate whether to merge articles 9 and 10 into one, whether to focus on procurement only and whether to introduce a lengthy and detailed process of approval by Member States before a specification from a forum/consortium can be used in EU policy making or procurement. Frankly speaking, such changes would kill the entire process. And I wonder whether they are not, in fact, off reality. I believe nobody ever asked the approval of the Member States when public authorities introduced WLAN or the internet as such – all based on open standards from fora/consortia. On the other hand, Europe needs to be able to reference fora/consortia standards in policies if Europe wants to take global leadership, e.g. in new innovative areas like smart grid, eEnergy, eMobility, eHealth – just to name a few. So whoever wishes to make the process more complicated (and unusable) or reduce it to procurement only plays with Europe's ability to be future ready and to lead.

I remain optimistic that the European Parliament and the Competitiveness Council do see the realities and will recognise the need for the ICT chapter in the draft Regulation (Chapter IV). There are a number of “fonctionnaires” around who argue against these changes to the European standardisation system, mainly for reasons to protect some monopolies. The actual stakeholders in standardisation, i.e. industry and technology providers, both large and small, however see the real world and the actual necessities – and have broad consensus on the need for change as proposed by the Commission. This joint submission is a major manifestation in this respect.

See also my previous posts on the topic of the EU legal package:

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