Enquiry/Formal Vote - Practice of voting 

1 INTRODUCTION

An essential required characteristic of a European Standard is that it results from consensus of all interested parties concerned: industry, economic players, authorities and civil society.
The degree of consensus is evaluated and measured at different stages, at different levels and in different ways during the development of a European Standard (EN):

  • consensus at Working Group (WG) level, amongst the participants, evaluated by the WG Convenor with agreement from the WG, before submitting a draft to the Technical Committee (TC) Secretary for further processing;
  • consensus at CEN level, amongst the CEN National Members, measured in CCMC through the counting of the votes at the closure of the Enquiry and then assessed by the Technical Committee;
  • consensus at CEN level, amongst the CEN National Members, measured in CCMC through the counting of the votes, at the closure of Formal Vote.

Whatever the methods of evaluation, the final aim is to ensure that there is consensus of all interested parties concerned on the resulting EN. This is especially important at Enquiry and FV stages since there will be no technical modifications to the text between the Formal Vote and the publication.

2 DEFINITIONS

Unanimity: absence of negative votes.
Consensus: General agreement, characterized by the absence of sustained opposition to substantial issues by any important part of the concerned interests and by a process that involves seeking to take into account the views of all parties concerned and to reconcile any conflicting arguments.

3 GUIDANCE

When voting at Enquiry or Formal Vote stage, CEN National Members only have three possibilities: approval, disapproval or abstention.

It is essential for the CEN National Members to reflect in their vote the balance of the opinions/positions of all the interested parties in their country.
Indeed the aim of the Enquiry or Formal Vote is to verify that there is consensus of all interested parties concerned (i.e. industry, authorities and civil society) on the content of the (Final Draft) EN.

This implies that each CEN National Member should have identified and contacted as soon as possible the interested parties concerned in its country (in principle as soon as a proposal for a project is considered at TC or BT level) and have put in place a reliable mechanism to collect and balance their opinions/positions (usually a national committee mirroring the CEN technical body concerned).

NOTE: The interested parties do not vote themselves but the CEN National Members do (national delegation principle).

4 POLICY

4.1 General

As the Formal Vote might be skipped – under certain conditions – a CEN National Member submitting technical comments on the prEN should only cast a positive vote at Enquiry stage if the prEN would also be acceptable without incorporating these technical comments.

Technical comments submitted on the FprEN will only be considered for the next revision or amendment of the standard.

Any negative vote shall be accompanied by a full justification.

When consensus cannot be reached on the national position or when there is no expertise or interest at national level, the CEN National Member is expected to vote abstention.

4.2 Approval at Enquiry stage

If a CEN National Member cast a positive vote at the Enquiry stage, then at the Approval stage, it is expected to express the following:

  • Approval of the FprEN
  • Disapproval of the FprEN, if, and only if one of the following conditions is met:
    The draft has substantially changed since Enquiry stage:
    Technical changes, resulting from comments made by other CEN National Members, have been made to the Enquiry stage draft and alter its technical sense.

    The New Approach consultant has issued a negative assessment:
    The risk of approving a standard that may not be cited in OJEU is acceptable grounds for disapproval.
  • Abstention, if the draft has substantially changed since Enquiry stage and there is no consensus on the FprEN at national level.

4.3 Disapproval at Enquiry stage

If a CEN National Member cast a negative vote at the Enquiry stage, then at the Approval stage, it is expected to express the following:

  • Approval of the FprEN
  • Disapproval of the FprEN, if, and only if one of the following conditions is met:
    The comments made at Enquiry stage were rejected:
    Technical comments made by a CEN National Member at the Enquiry stage were not accepted in the text of the FprEN.

    Comments submitted at enquiry stage fundamentally modify the text:
    The text submitted to the Approval stage differs substantially from the one submitted to the enquiry, which makes it unacceptable for the CEN National Member.
  • Abstention, if there is no consensus on the FprEN at national level.

4.4 Abstention at Enquiry stage

If a CEN National Member chose abstention at the Enquiry stage, then at the Approval stage, it is expected to express the following:

  • Approval of the FprEN, if consensus on the FprEN could be reached at national level.
  • Disapproval of the FprEN, if, and only if the following condition is met:

    The draft has substantially changed since Enquiry stage:
    Technical changes, resulting of comments made by other CEN National Members, have been made to the Enquiry stage draft and alter its technical sense.
  • Abstention, if there is no consensus on the FprEN at national level

 5 NON CONFORMITY WITH THE POLICY

If the vote cast is not in conformity with the voting behaviour policy and this vote results in a negative outcome on the FprEN, the secretary of the concerned TC shall contact the CEN National Member (if necessary the Technical Board member) responsible for that vote and discuss their voting position in case a change is appropriate:

  • If the discussions lead to a change of voting position, this shall lead to acceptance instead of rejection of the EN concerned.
  • If the member maintains its inconsistent vote the secretary shall report to BT the situation together with the corrective action taken. BT decides what further action is to be taken. 
2017-11-09