Validation of European observerships in foreign Technical Committees

This page describes the process to be followed by CEN Technical Committees interested in sending observers in foreign national Technical Committees under the umbrella of cooperation agreements concluded between CEN and non-European National Standardization Bodies.


Two CEN and CENELEC Cooperation Agreements (with JISC and Rosstandart) offer the possibility to send observers to the Technical Committees of the foreign Partners (hereafter referred to as foreign TCs ). The objectives of these activities are to develop mutual technical cooperation on standards development activities in the three organizations, as well as to adopt a complementary approach to the standardization process in order to avoid duplication, in areas of mutual interest, where feasible.

Due to the rights and obligations assigned to an observer (see clause 3), and to the fact that observerships are linked to the payment of a yearly fee (2.000,00 € per year and per TC), it is important to follow a process that validates the European requests according to the following elements:

  • The need for the CEN/TCs requesting observership to be familiar and agree with the rights and obligations of an observer;
  • The necessity for the European expert to represent the CEN/TC where he/she is active in the activities of the foreign TC, and therefore the need for the CEN/TC to approve such request and the expert nomination;
  • The need for the observer to act as rapporteur to both TCs;
  • The fact that CEN will pay for those observerships. The financial aspect should be assessed with each request.
  • Due to the implications of observerships both on the work of CEN, and on the CEN budget, and in order to have a holistic view and management of European observerships in foreign TCs, CEN/BT should endorse the CEN/TC decision to observe a foreign TC.

2 PROCESS (Flowchart)

With its Decision C80/2015, CEN/BT endorsed the following process to enable European experts to participate as observers in foreign TCs:

  • Upon receipt of a request from the CEN/TC, CCMC informs the CEN/TC on the rights and obligations of its observing experts (see clause 3), confirms the identification of the foreign TC, requests the CEN/TC to issue an official TC decision (taken by unanimity) and to provide the list of experts who will represent the CEN/TC (maximum three);
  • Upon receipt of the CEN/TC decision, CCMC prepares the request for endorsement (by correspondence) to CEN/BT, providing the above-mentioned elements and describing the budgetary impact of such decision (balance with payment of foreign observerships or not). Should the payment of European fees increase significantly or create an unbalance in the ‘ins and outs’ related to the observership payments, CACC FIN will be requested to issue a recommendation.
  • Once the decision is taken by CEN/BT, CCMC confirms the decision to the relevant CEN/TC and, if the decision is positive, sends the official request for observership to the foreign partner;
  • Once the request for observership is approved by the partner, CCMC informs the concerned CEN/TC and CEN/BT that the request has been approved and requests the partner to provide access to foreign TC meetings and documents for the nominated observers;
  • CCMC communicates the invoicing details of CEN to the partner, and upon receipt of the request for payment of the annual fees, makes the corresponding payment to the partner.
  • The CEN experts observing the work of a foreign TC commit to abide by the rules of an observer (see clause 3).


3.1 Rights

Observers have the following main rights:

  • To access all documents, including working documents of the foreign TC;
  • To attend meetings of the foreign TC;
  • To submit comments to working documents of the foreign TC.

The CEN/TC may send a delegation of maximum three experts to meetings of the foreign TC.

3.2 Obligations

Observers have following main obligations:

  • To limit the circulation of the documents coming from the foreign TC to the corresponding  CEN/TC, and not to distribute it outside;
  • To inform the foreign TC of any potential national deviation in CEN member countries, if known to the CEN/TC, during the  standards drafting process in the foreign TC.
  • To notify the secretariat of the foreign TC in which they participate of any European projects falling under the scope of the foreign TC. 

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