The European System of Harmonised Standards. Legal Opinion for ECOS

40 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2022

See all articles by Mariolina Eliantonio

Mariolina Eliantonio

Maastricht Center for European Law

Annalisa Volpato

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 11, 2022


The aim of this opinion is to provide an analysis of the current status and nature of harmonised standards within the EU legal system in light of the legislative and judicial developments in the last years. Firstly, it examines the nature of the process of European standardisation and of European harmonised standards, and concludes that, under the current regulatory framework, the process and its outputs have an undeniable public law relevance. Secondly, it discusses the relationship between the European Commission and the ESOs and concludes that it is certainly acceptable for the European Commission, under the current legislative framework, to control the content of the standards produced by the ESOs before it agrees to publish a reference to them in the Official Journal. Thirdly, it analyses the inclusiveness of the European standardisation system vis-à-vis stakeholder organisations and concludes that, although the efforts of the ESOs are in compliance with the Regulation, relevant obstacles to an effective participation still persist in practice. Finally, it focuses on the international standard-setting process and discusses, in particular, the consequences for stakeholder organisations arising from the shift of the standardisation process to the international level.

Keywords: standardisation, inclusiveness, transparency, ISO, harmonised standards

Suggested Citation

Eliantonio, M. and Volpato, Annalisa, The European System of Harmonised Standards. Legal Opinion for ECOS (March 11, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

M. Eliantonio

Maastricht Center for European Law ( email )

PO Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD

Annalisa Volpato (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200

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