Hvitbok om standardisering i IKT-sektoren

Tittel

Hvitbok: Modernernisering av IKT-standardisering i EU - veien fremover

Siste nytt

Supplerende dansk departementsvurdering ("grundnotat") offentliggjort 4.9.2009

Nærmere omtale

BAKGRUNN (fra Kommisjonens hvitbok, engelsk utgave)

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a major driver of competitiveness and represents one of the key industrial sectors of the 21st century. In 2007 the European ICT industry had a turnover of € 670 bn and accounted for over 5% of total employment in the EU. European ICT needs sound framework conditions to fully contribute to the growth and jobs agenda and in this context standardisation plays an important role. Moreover, as ICT tools are used in all economic sectors, an effective EU ICT standardisation policy can encourage the faster uptake of new technologies and applications thereby contributing to the competitiveness of the European economy as a whole.

Standardisation is a voluntary cooperation among industry, consumers, public authorities and other interested parties for the development of technical specifications. Industry uses standards to meet market needs – to support its competitiveness, to ensure acceptance of innovative solutions or to increase interoperability. Public authorities refer to standards in legislation, policies and procurement to achieve societal aims for safety, interoperability, accessibility, environmental performance, etc. While industry can use any standards, public authorities have a strong preference for, or even an obligation to use standards resulting from open, transparent and inclusive processes. However, through standard referencing and use, public authorities can help drive the competitiveness of industry and facilitate competition for the benefit of consumers.

The implementation of the current EU standardisation policy, is based on the work of the European standardisation organisations (ESOs) and their cooperation with the international standardisation organisations. It allows the Commission to invite the ESOs to undertake specific standardisation initiatives and enables the EU and the Member States to refer to European standards established by those organisations in legislation and policies. Furthermore the current legal basis on ICT standardisation recognised certain ICT specificities such as the need for interoperability and allows for some flexibility in case of referencing ICT standards in public procurement.

The ICT standardisation landscape has dramatically changed over the last decade. Alongside the traditional standard stetting organisations, specialised and mostly global fora and consortia have become more active and several have emerged as world-leading ICT standards development bodies, such as those responsible for the standards covering the internet and the world wide web. This development is not reflected in the EU standardisation policy. Fora and consortia standards cannot currently be referenced, even if they could be of benefit in helping to achieve public policy goals. Without decisive action the EU risks becoming irrelevant in ICT standard setting which will take place almost entirely outside Europe, and without regard for European needs.

This analysis is largely shared by the Member States and the Council has stressed the need to make further progress in the application of standardisation to areas such as ICT, underlining that the current European standardisation system has to adapt to the needs of fast-moving markets, especially, in services and high-technology products.

It is indeed imperative to modernise the EU ICT standardisation policy and to fully exploit the potential of standard setting. Otherwise the EU will fail to master the information society, will not realise a number of important European policy goals which require interoperability such as e-health, accessibility, security, e-business, e-government, transport, etc, and will face obstacles to being a driving force in the development and promotion of international standards for personal data protection as set out in the Communication on the Stockholm programme. More broadly the following policy goals need to be addressed:

• Drive innovation and competitiveness by adapting ICT standardisation policy to market and policy developments;
• Provide industry including SMEs, with high-quality ICT standards in a timely manner to ensure competitiveness in the global market while responding to societal expectations;
• Enhance the position of European ICT standardisation at global level;
• Assure consumer benefits by facilitating competition in European and international ICT markets;
• Strengthen the internal market by setting common criteria and processes for referencing ICT standards in European legislation, policies and public procurement;
• Increase the quality, coherence and consistency of ICT standards;
• Provide active support to the implementation of ICT standards.

In order to renew the European ICT standardisation policy, the Commission launched a review with a study to analyse the current EU ICT standardisation policy and bring forward recommendations for its future development. The study report was published in July 2007 and a web-based consultation followed. The comments received were published on the Europa website and an open conference was held in February 2008 to examine the study recommendations and those comments.

As a result, it was decided to present a White Paper to ascertain the degree of consensus on the possible proposals for policy choices and specific measures that would help the European ICT standardisation policy to better respond to industry and societal needs.

While the European ICT standardisation policy should continue to be based on the principles of voluntary and market led standardisation, technology neutrality and balance of interest, the following are the most prominent areas for improvement of the current system:

• Establish an ICT standards policy that accommodates the global dynamics and requirements of the ICT sector and reflects the varying needs of the infrastructure and application domains;
• Allow for a more integrated approach in ICT standardisation and the use of ICT standards and specifications;
• Strengthen competitiveness of industry and fair competition by fostering the implementation of standards and specifications;
• Strengthen collaboration and cooperation in ICT standards development, both Europe-wide and globally.