Standardization requests (Mandates)


NOTE: Regulation EU 1025/2012 uses the term ‘standardization request’ whereas since years such request from the European Commission was referred to as ‘mandate’. As both concepts still exist (e.g. already existing ‘mandates’ are still under execution), both terms are used in the text hereafter.

1.1 Sources of the 'mandating process'

Standardization requests (commonly referred to as ‘mandates’) emanating from the European Commission (EC) ask for specific actions from the ESOs to support and complement European policy objectives.
Standardization requests are usually issued to support the implementation of European Union (EU) legislation and policies for products and services.

1.2  Preparation and approval of standardization requests by the EC

1.2.2 Preparation

The EC is responsible for the preparation and drafting of standardization requests. This is done in line with the principles included in the Vademecum on European Standardization.

1.2.2 Contribution to the drafting

It is important to ensure that the relevant parties are included in the drafting process and consulted during the informal consultations.

While the EC sets the content and deadlines included in standardization requests, these are developed in close consultation with the European Standardization Organizations (ESOs) and other relevant stakeholders, such as Annex III organizations and member states. They can contribute all along the drafting phase. During the consultation phase close cooperation between CEN and ISO is also crucial, so as to ensure that the future work (both in terms of timeframe and in terms of content) is properly planned, thereby taking into account the provisions of the Vienna Agreement.

To ensure a prompt coordination and input by all relevant stakeholders at European and international level during the drafting of standardization requests, ‘Ad-hoc groups’ (SReqAHG) are put in place. These will see the participation of relevant technical bodies, CEN Members and ISO whenever relevant.

SReqAHGs advise the CEN Technical Board on any issue (including work to be carried out, resources, etc.) associated to the draft standardization requests and ultimately on their acceptance/rejection.

1.2.3 Approval

Proposed draft standardization requests are submitted to the ‘Committee on Standards’ established under Regulation 1025/2012 on European Standardization, for approval by the Members States. Once approved, they are officially transmitted to the ESOs for acceptance and execution.

1.3  Acceptance and execution of a standardization request by CEN

1.3.1 CEN/BT Decision

Regulation 1025/2012 requires the ESOs to indicate, within one month following receipt, if they accept a given standardization request or not.

A proposal, documented with the advice of the relevant Ad Hoc Group, is submitted by correspondence to the CEN Technical Board (BT), in which an agreement among the CEN Members is sought regarding the mandate put forward by the EC and the subsequent commitment of the CEN System resources for the execution of all the elements associated with the standardization request.

NOTE: To secure the timely response to the EC, CCMC initiates the CEN/BT decision making process on acceptance based on the draft standardization request that is submitted to the Committee on Standards.

A standardization request is a legal act and is considered as a contract between the EC and CEN (possibly together with CENELEC and ETSI) and is thus binding for both parties. In particular and as a consequence, the deadlines set in the contract for the deliverables are contractually binding and are to be respected.

The  outcome of the CEN/BT decision is communicated to the EC.


1.3.2 Ancillary Actions

Standardization requests must identify the requested European deliverables, and thus also the subject matter, together with the deadlines for publication.
Where conditions for issuing a standardization requests are not yet fulfilled, the EC launches appropriate preliminary or ancillary actions (studies or equivalent) to identify the standardization needs and to be able to analyse whether the subject matter is market-relevant.
NOTE: Ancillary Actions could take the form of a letter from the EC inviting CEN to carry out some pre-normative activity. Ancillary Actions will be submitted to the attention of the CEN Technical Board via a decision by correspondence or to be taken in a meeting.

In exceptional cases a standardization request for the development of European standards or European standardization deliverables might, however, include similar preliminary and ancillary action as part of its execution.

1.4 Financial contributions

Both standardization requests as well as Preliminary/Ancillary actions may receive financial contributions from the EC. However, financial contributions shall not be a precondition for the acceptance of the standardization request or to carry out preliminary/ancillary actions.

If, during the discussions in the SRAHG it emerges that financial support is needed to carry out the work, CEN/BT WG 217 ‘Prioritization of contract proposals’  shall be involved for an assessment.  Interested NSBs (e.g. the CEN Member holding the secretariat of the relevant TC) shall fill in a template with clear information on the purpose of the funding, relevance of the projects, resources needed, etc.

Only if CEN/BT WG 217 issues a positive assessment, the request for funding (cost quotation) can be submitted to the EC.

The quotation has to be agreed by the EC before contracts can be finalized.


2.1 At all stages during the development of a standard under a standardization request/mandate and/or covered by an Order Voucher, the TC shall provide information to CCMC, which will be used to keep the EC informed

2.2 During the development of draft standards under a standardization request/mandate and/or covered by an Order Voucher, in particular after the CEN enquiry and after the formal vote, TCs may be faced with the need:

  • to change the status of deliverable, as stated in the standardization request/mandate/Order Voucher;
  • to stop the work temporarily;
  • to delete the work item.

It is not allowed to take such decision without having requested the formal opinion or agreement of the EC.

2.3 The relevant TC initiates the request as soon as the matter is raised.

This request should be sent to the Standards Development Department of CCMC by using the formatted Decision stating the proposal and supported by full justification.

After obtaining BT agreement, CCMC forwards the request for advice or agreement to the EC.

2.4 The CCMC informs the TC of the position of EC for further handling.


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An Order Voucher (BC - Bon de Commande) is a contract between a European standardization organization (e.g. CEN) and the EC (and EFTA) for the delivery of some services. These services can include the development of harmonized standards, other ENs, preparation of standardization programmes, studies and/or the organization of conferences or workshops.

An Order Voucher can be accompanied by financial support from the EC (and EFTA) and other parties in the CEN System (e.g. the CEN national members).


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