CEN is a major provider of European Standards and technical specifications. It is the only recognised European organisation according to Directive 98/34/EC for the planning, drafting and adoption of European Standards in all areas of economic activity with the exeption of electrotechnology (CENELEC) and telecommunication (ETSI).
CEN's 31 National Members work together to develop voluntary European Standards (ENs). These standards have a unique status since they also are national standards in each of its 31 Member countries. With one common standard in all these countries and every conflicting national standard withdrawn, a product can reach a far wider market with much lower development and testing costs. ENs help build a European Internal Market for goods and services and position Europe in the global economy.
More than 60.000 technical experts as well as business federations, consumer and other societal interest organisations are involved in the CEN network that reaches over 480 million people.
In a globalized world, the need for international standards simply makes sense. The Vienna Agreement − signed by CEN in 1991 with ISO (International Organization for Standardization), its international counterpart − ensures technical cooperation by correspondence, mutual representation at meetings and coordination meetings, and adoption of the same text, as both an ISO Standard and a European Standard.