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Thursday, June 29 2017 @ 11:21 AM CDT

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Procurement problems in the EU
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 28 2007 @ 04:56 PM CDT
For a start, in the same document it makes a distinction between technical specifications and standards. You must realize that governments typically treat ISO standards for health and safety very differently from those for IT.  Here is the definition in that document for standard:

2. "standard" means a technical specification approved by a recognised standardising body for repeated or continuous application, compliance with which is not compulsory and which falls into one of the following categories:

- international standard: a standard adopted by an international standards organisation and made available to the general public,

- European standard: a standard adopted by a European standards organisation and made available to the general public,

- national standard: a standard adopted by a national standards organisation and made available to the general public;

Note the "not compulsory". Milk standards would be compulsory technical specifications., I suppose.

Now you have explored a few different positions in this thread: first that ISO has "law-making powers". As a voluntary standards body it does not, as their own recent material makes clear.  Next that WTO required adoption of ISO standards: it does not, all voluntary standards only need to be adopted as appropriate, which is not to say that some lazy countries might just do it that way. Next  that EU regulations require that ISO standards be mandated:

I don't pass myself off as any kind of EU expert, but in that document I see
5.1. The current provisions on technical specifications [20] are designed to require public purchasers to define technical specifications by reference to an exhaustively listed set of instruments so as to avoid conferring any advantage on a given economic operator or giving preference to national production. These instruments are not only well known, transparent and publicly available but also represent, as far as possible, harmonisation of specifications at European or international level. The most important of these instruments is the standard - preferably European, international or, failing that, national. Other instruments which are more sector-specific (European Technical Approval for building products, as provided for in Directive 89/106/EEC) have also been retained as possible references.
clearly interposes a layer between standards and adoption ("the instruments") which, I suppose, is where the EU can select which standards are useful for what purpose and for public policy.

Obviously ISO standards are in a prime seat for adoption, and being left out from being an ISO standard may put you at a disadvantage, especially if procurement people fail in their due dilegence to identify and select the correct standard(s) for the particular job. But that is a long way from standards being laws or automatically mandatory or even required, yes?

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