Legislation Tools & Regulatory FrameworkThe lists of all the European Commission Directives, Regulations, Decisions, Resolutions, Recommendations, as well as Communications are regularly updated to provide latest information on public policy.
ETSI is one of the 3 legally recognized 'regional' standardization bodies in Europe (ESO) by the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This recognition given by Directive 98/34/EC comes with certain responsibilities which we are committed to fulfill. The status of 'ESO' permits ETSI members to produce market-driven, voluntary and consensus-based standards that are intended for use by the market and whose implementation supports the functioning of the European Single Market and other areas governed by public policies. Our standardization work at the European level also contributes to the public interest by meeting the specific needs of the European market and the avoidance of technical barriers to trade. This benefits all players [e.g. industry including Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)].
ETSI produces technical specifications that support European policies and directives that may be listed by the European Commission and ETFA in their respective Official Journals. Of most significance, this status allows ETSI to produce European Norms (ENs) some of which are known as Harmonized standards that support the implementation of the Single European Market and enable manufacturers to gain access to the European market in the most economic way (presumption of conformity route). All ETSI ENs become the national standards of the different EU/EFTA member states and beyond (see more information on the National Standards Organizations. Of greatest interest to ETSI members is the development and production of Harmonized ENs to support the New Approach (Council Resolution of the 7th May 1985). The philosophy behind the New Approach was to provide the essential conditions to improve the competitiveness of European industry by ensuring the free movement of goods covering entire product sectors but also guaranteeing the protection of public interest objectives. This system has helped to open up the EU market and mutually agreed voluntary standards have enabled better regulation, stimulated business competitiveness and removed barriers to trade. This is especially true in the radio and telecommunications equipment sector.
The largest number of ETSI Harmonized standards in this area covers the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (R&TTED Directive 1999/5/EC ). When adopted by ETSI these ENs have the status of Harmonized standards and when listed in the Official Journal they provide the manufacturer with the opportunity to place their products on the market as they can claim 'presumption of conformity' with the essential requirements of the directive (by self-declaration) rather than go through costly type approval processes in different Members States. Manufacturers are also then able to make use of the well recognized CE marking for their products. Although there are other ways of getting access for a product to the market, this route is by far the most economically attractive to industry.
ETSI has currently produced over 270 such Harmonized standards under this directive and complete details of the directives themselves, the standards currently listed, standardization work currently underway and access to the standards themselves can be found by going to the New Approach web site. This site also provides information on the existing standardization work of all 3 ESOs (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) although free electronic access to the ENs themselves is limited to those produced and published by ETSI.
Electronic Communication Network and Services (ECN&S)
ETSI also plays a role in supporting the Electronic Communication Network and Services that sets the rules for the backbone of Europe's developing information Society. ETSI specifications are listed to support article 17 of the Framework Directive itself and the content of this indicates the importance of ETSI's output to date. The set of Directives for ECN&S was published in 2002.
The Commission launched a review of the ECN&S regulatory rules in November 2007 and the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers reached an agreement on the EU Telecoms Reform proposed by the Commission in November 2009. The whole telecoms reform package that includes Regulation (EC) No 1211/2009, Directive 2009/136/EC and Directive 2009/140/EC went into force with its publication in the EU's Official Journal (18 December 2009). The telecoms reform package includes in particular the establishment of the European Body of Telecoms Regulators (BEREC) in spring 2010.
Transposition of the telecoms reform package into national legislation in the 27 EU Member States must be ensured by June 2011.
As a recognized ESO, ETSI also receives mandates from the EC/EFTA. Mandates are statements of policy intent where the EC and the Member states request the relevant ESOs and their members to develop standards (or a standardization work programme) in co-ordination with regulatory requirements or other policy initiatives. Not all mandates are related to the New Approach. However, they do often support other legislative initiatives such as the Electronic Fee Collection Directive, the Electronic Signature Directive, the High Speed Rail Interoperability legislation and the Single European Sky initiative. ETSI holds a list of those mandates received by us and adopted since 1996 along with the opportunity to see the latest position on the related work performed.
Recent years have seen a change in the nature of regulatory activity at the EU level. The shift has been away from legally binding instruments to alternative regulatory instruments such as co-regulation and self regulation by the social and economic actors concerned. This has also been true in the electronic communications area where ETSI members are active and the result has also been that there has been a wider recognition of the non-EN deliverable types being used to support these new areas. However, there is also a greater move towards encouraging sectors to come to voluntary codes of conduct rather than face the prospect of regulation. One recent agreement was achieved in February 2007 where the majority of European mobile operators signed an agreement on the protection of minors using mobile phones through the development of self-regulatory codes to be in place by February 2008. This route is preferred but the outcome will be monitored and the option of whether stronger regulatory intervention is required will still be there. In the meantime the mobile operators will look to establish the voluntary code and make use of the specifications and work already performed following their investment in the standardization process.
i2010 - A European Information Society for growth and employment
i2010 is an initiative driven by the revision of the Lisbon Strategy and it provides a framework outlining broad policy guidelines with the goal of being an integrated policy to encourage knowledge and innovation. It also follows on from the eEurope 2002 and 2005 programmes that had focused on providing the availability of a widespread broadband access, a secured information infrastructure and greater development of on-line public services and eBusiness applications. ETSI has contributed with specifications, reports and guidelines under these programmes and continues to do so through trying to answer to the EC's ICT Standardization Work programme.