Following the European Commission's significant restructuring of the awarding and implementation practice within the European standardization system in the wake of the so-called James Elliot decision of the European Court of Justice, there were ongoing discussions among experts from the fields of economics, technology and law.
In this context, the Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi) commissioned a legal opinion, which has now been published on August 31, 2020. The opinion focuses on questions concerning possible liability risks in standardization processes, the coordination between the European standards organizations and the EU Commission prior to the publication of a harmonized standard, and the role of the standards organizations and the member states in the EU standards committee.
For example, it is made clear that the Commission must not take the examination of a harmonized standard as an opportunity to duplicate the standardization process in practice or even to replace the contents agreed upon by the standards organizations with its own technical rules. Rather, its examination is limited to a comparison of the contents of the standard with the underlying requirements of the standardization mandate or harmonization act, which must primarily relate to formal aspects and the completeness and consistency of the standard.