The European Commission can identify ICT technical specifications that are not national, European, or international standards, provided they meet precise requirements. Once identified and approved, these specifications can then be referenced in European public procurement.
This flexible approach allows the EU to respond to the fast evolution of technology in ICT. It also helps encourage competition, promote interoperability and innovation, and facilitate the provision of cross-border services.
How are new standards identified?
The European Multi-Stakeholder Platform, the expert advisory group on ICT standardisation, sets up evaluation groups to examine the compliance of technical specifications in the field of ICT that are not national, European or international standards. It does so bearing in mind the requirements set out in Annex II of Regulation 1025/2012 on European Standardisation (.pdf).
Based on the evaluation group's outcomes, the Multi-Stakeholder Platform produces an evaluation report for the Commission. The report includes their advice on the possibility of identifying technical specifications that are to be referenced in public procurement.
Before taking its decision, the European Commission consults either the committee or the relevant sectorial experts. Following such consultations, the Commission decides whether or not to identify the ICT technical specification as a 'common technical specification' that can be used by public authorities in their public procurement (in accordance with the Public Procurement Regulations).
What are the technical specifications identified so far?
What requirements do new standards have to meet?
To be identified as possible 'common technical specifications', ICT technical specifications must comply with requirements set out in Annex II of Regulation 1025/2012 on European Standardisation (.pdf). This includes having market acceptance and being coherent with European standardisation.
The process by which the ICT technical specifications are developed must be open, transparent and based on consensus. The specifications must also meet defined attributes, including maintenance, availability, intellectual property rights licensed on a FRAND basis, relevance, neutrality, stability and quality.