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B. Standardization processes

B. Standardization processes

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There are
3 levels of standardization

Standardization can take place at national, European or International level.


All three levels are interconnected, and everyone feeds each other. This is ensured by the standardization organizations' structure and internal regulations.

National standardization organizations are the National Standards Bodies (NSB) for all sectors, except specific committees for electrotechnical areas.


National Standards Bodies exist in every country.


Their work consists in managing and promoting the development of national standards and contribute to the elaboration of European and international ones, from which they are the national members.



National standardization organizations

The European standardization organizations are CEN, CENELEC & ETSI


CEN is the European Committee for Standardization.

CEN brings together the National Standardization Bodies

of 34 European countries, and is responsible for all non-electrotechnical sectors.

CENELEC is the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization.

CENELEC comprises members who are the ‘National Electrotechnical Committees’ of 34 countries European countries and 13 affiliates. CENELEC is responsible for standardization in the electrotechnical engineering field.


ETSI is the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.


ETSI is responsible for standardization in the telecommunications sector. Their work consists in managing and promoting the development of European standards and coordinate with the international ones.


European standardization organizations

International standardization organizations are ISO and IEC.

Their work consists in managing and promoting the development of international standards.


ISO is the International Organization for Standardization.


ISO includes the National Standardization Bodies of 164 countries and is responsible for non-electrotechnical sectors.

IEC is the International Electrotechnical Commission.


IEC includes 88 National Standards Bodies and is responsible for the electrotechnical sectors.


International standardization organizations

How do national, 


and international standards interact?

National standards can be the basis for European and international ones.


International standards can be adopted as national ones.


European standards are adopted by the CEN and CENELEC national members as national standards.

Please see the diagram below, which uses DIN (the German NSB) as an example.


How standardization organizations avoid duplication

To avoid duplication of work and to harmonize
European and international standardization (where possible), ISO and CEN signed the Vienna Agreement

and CENELEC and IEC the Frankfurt Agreement.

According to those Agreements, a standard can be developed either at international (by ISO, IEC) or European (by CEN, CENELEC) level and then adopted simultaneously as both an International and a European Standard by means of parallel voting.


Go to the next chapter:

B.1.2 Technical Bodies

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