What’s in a name: the Commission’s “control” of harmonised European standards

According to the Standardisation Regulation, the Commission is both obliged and entitled to check whether mandated harmonised standards meet the requirements of a standardisation request, prior to publication of the reference to the standard in the Official Journal. The scope and intensity of this control over harmonised standards is, however, not mandated or specified in the Standardisation Regulation. Recently, the Commission has shifted towards a more intensive control of harmonised standards, a move which has been criticised as being incompatible with the Standardisation Regulation and the New Approach paradigm, uncalled for in light of the applicable case law, and ultimately as undermining the efficiency and smooth functioning of the standardisation process. The paper will consider this issue and conclude that that a more intense control of standards by the Commission before publishing a reference in the Official Journal is fully in line with the applicable legal framework.