The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy today published a legal opinion on the European system of harmonised standards. The expert opinion, which was drafted on behalf of the Ministry, considers and assesses the current state of the European standardisation system and deals in particular with the implications of a ruling of the European Court of Justice, known as the ‘James Elliott ruling’ (C-613/14) of October 2016. The European Commission has significantly changed the procurement and implementation practice for European harmonised standards and standardisation mandates in response to the ruling. This has led to discussions in industry, among technical experts and in the Member States.

The expert opinion focuses on questions concerning potential liability risks in standardisation processes, the coordination between the European standardisation organisations and the EU Commission prior to the publication of a harmonised standard, as well as the role of the standardisation organisations and the Member States in the EU Standardisation Committee.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has advocated a strong European system of harmonised standards for many years, where German industry and the German standardardisation organisations take on a prominent role. In publishing the legal opinion, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is seeking to make a further contribution to the debate on the future of the European standardisation system and to accelerate European standardisation work for the purposes of bolstering European competitiveness.

The legal opinion can be downloaded from this website in German, English and French and as an executive summary (Q&A):