From 1 January 2015 onward, new rules will apply in the approval procedure of new European standards. In fact, the rules applying in ISO will be adopted for the larger part. The reason to do so is to reduce the increasing pressure to reduce the time needed for the development of standards. By focusing on the first phases of the standardisation process, the steering at the end of the process will become more difficult. The crucial phase in the development of European standards will now be the phase of public enquiry. The duration of the enquiry will be reduced from five to three months with three voting options (for, against or abstention). When a draft standard attains the required majority (71% of the positive votes), the responsible technical commission may decide to skip the formal final vote and to directly publish the standard. The only exception to the rule is when a draft standard receives a negative evaluation of a CEN consultant. In this case, the problem must be solved before the end evaluation can take place. It will become much more difficult to modify a draft standard after the enquiry. Therefore, it will be a matter of critically scrutinizing the draft standard, and to vote against it, if it includes stipulations with which one disagrees. It is the only occasion left to steer the standard.
On a regular basis, Centexbel sends you a list with draft standards on which you may comment. We are now confronted with a situation that is more difficult than before: there is less time to react and there is only one chance to communicate your remarks. We are closely following up the situation in order to make full use of the enquiry period. Your contributions and comments are greatly appreciated.