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Version vom 27. April 2010, 17:01 Uhr

What is ANEC?

ANEC is the European consumer voice in standardisation. This means we represent the European consumer interest in the creation of technical standards, especially those developed to support the implementation of European laws and public policies.

Although that may not sound important or interesting, standards provide the nuts and bolts of modern society. Ever thought why your mobile phone works away from home? Yes, standards. Ever thought why you need to carry a bag full of electrical adaptors when you travel abroad? That’s right - a lack of standards!

But standards address more than issues of interoperability for consumers.

The use of standards can also:

  • raise consumer protection and reduce the risk of accidents
  • help promote environmental protection
  • make the quality of services more consistent
  • ensure people of all ages and abilities have equal access to products and services
  • serve to underpin the digital age and the information society

ANEC participates principally through its voluntary experts in the standards development work of the three European Standards Organisations (ESOs) recognised by the European Union and EFTA:

However, we also participate in other organisations which develop standards whose use could directly or indirectly affect the European consumer. One such organisation is the World Wide Web Consortium (, responsible for developing the protocols and guidelines necessary to support the Web.

ANEC also has an interest in the use of standards and the use of certification schemes that demonstrate conformity to standards (such as the GS Mark in Germany and the European ‘Keymark’). We also seek to influence the development or revision of European legislation related to products and services which is likely to affect the consumer.

The representation of consumers in the European standardisation process is a public interest activity dependent upon European public funding. Hence the ANEC budget is financed by the European Union (95%) and EFTA (5%). In 2009, the ANEC budget totals 1,5M€. The participation of our voluntary experts is considered by the European Commission and EFTA Secretariat as a contribution in kind. In 2007, the ANEC Secretariat calculated the value of this contribution to be 260.000€.

ANEC is an international non-profit association established under Belgian law with a central secretariat in Brussels, Belgium. We are recognised by the European Commission and EFTA Secretariat and are a full member of the European Consumer Consultative Group (ECCG).

More about ANEC can be found in this leaflet, available in: Czech, English, Estonian, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Spanish .

What is the economic benefit of standards?

The academic study of the benefits of standards and standardisation has been quite limited and focused at the national level, but the German national standards body, DIN, has calculated that the use of standards contributes one percentage point to the annual growth of the German economy (about 20.000M€).

Similarly, the United Kingdom government attributes 13% of the growth in British labour productivity since 1945 to the use of standards.

Although ANEC appreciates these measures of the economic benefits in underlining the importance of standards, we still await a formal academic assessment of the contribution of standards to societal welfare.


32, box 27, Av. de Tervueren,
B-1040 Brussels
Tel.: +32-2-743.24.70
Fax: +32-2-706.54.30
Email: anec [at]