Use of standards in procurement is regulated by trade agreements and by EU legislation, but 12% of tenders do not respect rules. The European Catalogue lists standards that can be referred in procurement.

The use of standards in public procurement is regulated by EU legislation and by trade agreements. A guideline on referring standards in public procurement will be issued by the Joint Initiative on Standardisation working group 11. We will keep you posted!

The EU Catalogue will list standards that comply with trade agreements and EU regulation.


Standards included in the European Catalogue are only international standards (as defined by regulation 1025/2012, see below), European standards (issued by the three European Standardisation bodies recognized by regulation 1025/2012: ETSI, CEN, CENELEC) and technical specifications identified for use in procurement under art. 13 of regulation 1025/2012 (see below).


Regulation 1025/2012 offers definitions for standards and technical specifications and standardisation bodies.

(1) ‘standard’ means a technical specification, adopted by a recognised standardisation body, for repeated or continuous application, with which compliance is not compulsory, and which is one of the following:

(a) ‘international standard’ means a standard adopted by an international standardisation body;

(b) ‘European standard’ means a standard adopted by a European standardisation organisation;

(c) ‘harmonised standard’ means a European standard adopted on the basis of a request made by the Commission for the application of Union harmonisation legislation;

(d) ‘national standard’ means a standard adopted by a national standardisation body;


(4) ‘technical specification’ means a document that prescribes technical requirements to be fulfilled by a product, process, service or system and which lays down one or more of the following:

(a) the characteristics required of a product including levels of quality, performance, interoperability, environmental protection, health, safety or dimensions, and including the requirements applicable to the product as regards the name under which the product is sold, terminology, symbols, testing and test methods, packaging, marking or labelling and conformity assessment procedures;

(b) production methods and processes used in respect of agricultural products as defined in Article 38(1) TFEU, products intended for human and animal consumption, and medicinal products, as well as production methods and processes relating to other products, where these have an effect on their characteristics;

(c) the characteristics required of a service including levels of quality, performance, interoperability, environmental protection, health or safety, and including the requirements applicable to the provider as regards the information to be made available to the recipient, as specified in Article 22(1) to (3) of Directive 2006/123/EC;

(d) the methods and the criteria for assessing the performance of construction products, as defined in point 1 of Article 2 of Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products ( 1 ), in relation to their essential characteristics;

(5) ‘ICT technical specification’ means a technical specification in the field of information and communication technologies;


(8) ‘European standardisation organisation’ means an organisation listed in Annex I;

(9) ‘international standardisation body’ means the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU);

(10) ‘national standardisation body’ means a body notified to the Commission by a Member State in accordance with Article 27 of this Regulation.


In addition, pursuant to art. 13 of regulation 1025/2012, with the advice of the Multi-Stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardisation, the European Commission may issue a Commission Decision to recognize fora and consortia technical specifications for use in procurement. The list of identified technical specifications can be found here.