Standard-Setting in Services – New Frontiers in Rule-Making and the Role of the EU

23 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2015

See all articles by Panos Delimatsis

Panos Delimatsis

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); Tilburg Law School

Date Written: June 2015


Due to legislative and judicial developments, standard-setting has come to the forefront of public debates. Being for a long time considered as a 'no passing zone' for everyone but engineers and technical experts, standard-setting organizations (SSOs) have produced a rowing solid body of standards that affect and facilitate our everyday life, from wireless communications to household appliances. However, SSOs also drew the attention of many due to allegations about exclusion; undue increase of rivals’ costs; strategic behaviour; or unnecessary trade barriers. Anecdotal evidence suggests that standard-setting procedures may not always be in line with contemporary due process demands. If standardization in goods is vague, standard-setting in services is uncharted territory. This comes as no surprise; due to their tailor-made nature, services are harder to standardize. However, interest in this area is growing and the European Union (EU) has paved the way: In the controversial EU Services Directive, and, more recently, in the Single Market Act, the European Commission is called upon to lead the development of voluntary European standards to facilitate compatibility among services, whereas EU Regulation 1025/2012 provides the legal basis for a new era in service standard-setting in the EU. Based on these developments, this paper maps this new and promising area of rule-making in services. Standard-setting procedures and institutions will be analysed with a view to identifying how successful this new endeavour can be in promoting trade in services. In this regard, the paper will revisit the groundwork already done in certain services sectors, putting an emphasis on financial and business (including professional) services.

Keywords: service standardization, standards in services, European standard-setting organizations (ESOs), EU Standardization Regulation, EU Services Directive, quality of service, International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

JEL Classification: F02, F15, G28, K20, K33, L51, L84, L88, N70, N74

Suggested Citation

Delimatsis, Panagiotis, Standard-Setting in Services – New Frontiers in Rule-Making and the Role of the EU (June 2015). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2015-013. Available at SSRN: or

Panagiotis Delimatsis (Contact Author)

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Postbus 90153
Tilburg, NL-5000 LE
0031 13 466 8251 (Phone)
0031 13 466 8047 (Fax)


Tilburg Law School ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Postbus 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE

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