Standards, the backbone of the Digital Single Market

23 October 2015 Author: EIFonline

The DSM Communication emphasizes the essential role of standards in increasing interoperability, supporting the development of new technologies and ultimately in boosting competitiveness. This vision is currently being specified in a Priority ICT Standards Plan that the European Commission plans to release later in 2015.

The “digital economy” means that ICT - in addition to being a sector in itself - is transversal to all industry sectors and this impacts on standardization: its nature, perimeter, the way standards are made and by whom, and the processes. In addition, the DSM communication raises questions relating to the role of policy makers in the equation, the dynamics between standards/policy making and regulation and how to get the optimum combination to support a fully functional digital single market both from users and industrial competiveness perspective.
On the occasion of the World Standards Day (14th October), the EIF organized a Breakfast Debate addressing these key questions.

Michal Boni, MEP and EIF Steering Committee Member, opened this debate by noting that European standards needs to be quickly available to assure interoperability between ICT services and applications, serving industry and public needs. The European standardisation system must become as inclusive as possible to involve a wide range of participants, representing businesses of all sizes, consumers and other societal stakeholders such as trade unions, environmental NGOs, representatives of elderly and disable people.

Kerstin Jorna, Director, Single Market Policy, Regulation and Implementation at DG GROW European Commission, presented interesting facts about standards:

• 2772 is a sum of years of experience of all EU institutions working on standards
• 1 billion euros is the annual cost of standardization in Europe (out of which 20-25 mln euros are coming from the EU)
• There are 60.000 experts across Europe working on standards.

Ms Jorna also encouraged participants to participate in the public consultation on the Priority ICT Standards Plan.

Luis Romero, Director General at ETSI - European Telecommunications Standards Institute, spoke about the role of standards in the world where ICT is controlling every aspect of our lives. He also urged the industry players to cooperate in addressing global ICT standard’s needs.
Stefane Mouille, Vice President at Eurosmart, presented various case studies of standards and European pioneering in this field. He also noted that standards are not a technical issue but rather a business issue pushing various interested stakeholders to work together.

Margarida Abecasis, Head of ISA Unit at DG DIGIT European Commission, spoke about the relationship between standards and the public sector, noting that the public sector is an important player in the standardisation process. Ms Abecasis also mentioned the upcoming European Interoperability Framework consultation in March 2016 and invited all interested parties to participate.

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