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On 28 February, 2012, IEEE and the SME-UNION jointly organized a Working Breakfast – titled “Global Standards for Europe in the ICT sector” – at the European Parliament.

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association, dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. It has a wide network of 400,000 members, over 50,000 of whom are European. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through IEEE's highly cited publications, international conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities.

The Breakfast was moderated by Paul Rübig, Member, European Parliament. Among the keynote speakers were Katrine Mulvad Thomsen, Counsellor of the Danish Permanent Representation to the EU; Liliana Brykman, Director at the European Commission DG Enterprise and Industry; John Kulick, Vice Chair of the IEEE Standards Association Standards Board; and Karine Iffour, Director of Business Development in IEEE’s European Headquarters. Impulse statements were given by Dirk Weiler from ETSI, Rebekka Porath from Digital Europe and Martin Prager from PIN-SME.

Mr. Kulick noted the ubiquity of IEEE standards and their value in our everyday lives, demonstrating that they are present even in the European Parliament.

Adoption of the standardisation package will encourage innovation and growth in the IT sector by enhancing interoperability in networks and systems. It will help Europe keep pace with fast-moving technology, and will assist SMEs in their key sectors.

Recognition of globally accepted ICT technical specifications is important for policy and procurement. Policy areas of the European Union such as security, accessibility, eHealth, sustainability, eTourism, and eGovernment will all benefit. Public procurement will be given the freedom to maintain interoperability across the European Union. The recognition criteria described in Annex II are highly relevant as they ensure openness, consensus, neutrality, quality and transparency. The inclusion of the suggested language on coherence, however, could lead to unintended complications, for instance by forcing the referencing to some European standards that were not adopted by the market.

The Multi-Stakeholder Platform for ICT Standards was supported by all stakeholders present at the Breakfast as the unique body to advise the European Commission on ICT technical specifications that can be recognized. In the Multi-Stakeholder Platform, all parties are represented (Member States, European Standardisation Bodies, Industry, SMEs, Societal Stakeholders and ICT Standards Developing Organisations) by ICT standardisation experts. Additional consultation beyond the Platform may cause delays and endanger the process efficiency and the competitiveness of the ICT European market.

IEEE calls for simplification and harmonisation of the current situation, in which each member state has different criteria to reference ICT technical specifications. This current situation can lead to a lack of interoperability across Europe and with the rest of world, impacting European competitiveness. In summary, IEEE supports adoption of the standardisation package, including the multi-stakeholder platform, and believes it will result in benefits to European society and a more competitive European industry.