A standard (French: norme, German: Norm) is a publication that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, for common and repeated use. Standards are created by bringing together all interested parties including manufacturers, users, consumers and regulators of a particular material, product, process or service. Everyone benefits from standardisation through increased product safety and quality as well as lower transaction costs and prices.
A European Standard (EN) is a standard that has been adopted by one of the three recognized European Standardisation Organisations (ESOs): CEN, CENELEC or ETSI. It is produced by all interested parties through a transparent, open and consensus based process.
European Standards are a key component of the Single European Market. Although rather technical and often unknown to the public and media, they represent one of the most important issues for businesses. Often perceived as boring and not particularly relevant to some organisations, they are actually crucial in facilitating trade and hence have high visibility among manufacturers inside and outside Europe. A standard represents a model specification, a technical solution against which a market can trade. It codifies best practice and is usually state of the art.
In essence, European Standards relate to products, services or systems. Today, however, standards are no longer created solely for technical reasons but have also become platforms to enable greater social inclusiveness and engagement with technology, as well as convergence and interoperability within growing markets across industries.