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Information procedures: technical standards and regulations and regulations on information society services

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Information procedures: technical standards and regulations and regulations on information society services

This Directive aims to eliminate or reduce the barriers to the free movement of goods which can arise from the adoption of different national technical regulations, by encouraging transparency of national initiatives vis-à-vis the European Commission, European standardisation bodies and other Member States.


Directive 98/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards [See amending acts].


Directive 98/34/EC consolidates and thus replaces Directive 83/189/EEC. It provides for two information procedures, one for standards (voluntary technical specifications) and the other for technical regulations (obligatory technical specifications) on industrial, agricultural and fishing products.

Information procedure for standards

Each national standardisation body informs the Commission and all the other European and national standardisation bodies specified in the Annexes to the Directive of its draft standards or amendments to existing standards. The Commission may also request that it be informed of national standardisation programmes that will then be made available to the Member States.

The Commission and the other standardisation bodies may comment on draft standards, in which case they will be informed of the follow-up. Moreover, national standardisation bodies are able to participate in other Member States' standardisation work.

The information procedure does not apply to draft national standards transposing international or European standards.

The information procedure for technical rules:

Every Member State must notify the Commission of its draft technical rules or amendment of technical regulations, the grounds for them and, where necessary, the main basic legislative and regulatory provisions of the draft regulation. Where the draft limits the marketing or use of a chemical substance for public health, consumer or environmental protection reasons, the characteristics, effects and risks of the product must also be specified.

The Commission will inform all the other Member States of the draft notified. Their comments will be taken into account, where possible, in the final version of the technical regulation.

In order to allow the Commission and other Member States to react, the Member States must refrain from adopting any draft technical regulations for three months from the date of receipt by the Commission. The standstill period is extended to 4 months for drafts in the form of a voluntary agreement and for 6 months for all others where the Commission delivers a detailed opinion indicating that the draft may impede the free movement of goods. If the Commission wishes to propose or adopt a legislative act in the same area or if the draft concerns a subject already covered by a Commission proposal, the Member State concerned must suspend adoption of the draft for 12 months. If the Council adopts a common position during this period, the standstill period will be extended by six months (18 months in total).

The notification procedure does not apply to technical regulations that are an integral transposition of an international or European standard - in which case the Commission should simply be informed - nor to national regulations on Community technical specifications or to other provisions of Community law.


The Directive establishes a permanent Committee of Member States' representatives, chaired by a Commission representative. The Commission consults this Committee on:

  • twice-yearly reports on the implementation of the Directive and the proposals aiming to eliminate technical barriers to trade, in which case the Committee may recommend the preparation of a European standard by the European standardisation bodies or Community harmonisation of a particular sector;
  • amendments to lists of European and national standardisation bodies in Annexes I and II to the Directive;
  • rules for the presentation of standards and standardisation programmes which the national standardisation bodies must follow within the framework of the information procedure on standards;
  • amendment of procedures established by the Directive, etc...

The Commission may consult the Committee on technical draft regulations notified by the Member States and, at the Committee's or a Member State's request, on any other matter on the implementation of the Directive.

The Committee's work is confidential, but it may call upon the private sector for expertise providing that precautions are taken.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 98/34/EC



OJ L 204 of 21.7.1998

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 98/48/EC



OJ L 217 of 5.8.1998

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 98/34/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.

See also

Last updated: 01.07.2011