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CEN & ISO Vienna Agreement: It all started 20 years ago in Vienna

Logo 20 Years Vienna Agreement © Austrian Standards Institute

© Austrian Standards Institute

6 February 2012

The Vienna Agreement signed in June 1991 in Vienna provided co-operation between the European and international standardization communities with a basis that is still as future-oriented today. In early November 2011, experts coming from all over the world took stock of past achievements and discussed future challenges — a review of the international conference “20 Years Vienna Agreement”.

June 1991 is a historic date in the relations between European and international standardization: At the Austrian Standards Institute in Vienna, the secretaries-general of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Jacques Repussard (CEN) and Lawrence D. Eicher (ISO), signed an agreement, which has become well-known as the Vienna Agreement, to create a new basis for co-operation between the two organizations. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this co-operation, the Austrian Standards Institute hosted the international conference „20 Years Vienna Agreement“ attended by around 100 persons from Austria and around the world on 4 November 2011.

Against the backdrop of plans for the European internal market in which European standards were recognized and used as one of the most important tools for dismantling technical barriers to trade between the EU’s member states, the objective of the Vienna Agreement was to prevent a growing divergence of European and international standardization. At the same time, it was intended to avoid conflicting specifications in European and International Standards and the duplication of efforts. Today, out of a total of 13,542 European standards (EN), more than 4,170 are already identical to International Standards (ISO). Currently, ISO leads the development of 810 joint European and International Standards and CEN is in charge of 160 ones.