CENELEC is the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization and is responsible for standardization in the electrotechnical engineering field. CENELEC prepares voluntary standards, which help facilitate trade between countries, create new markets, cut compliance costs and support the development of a Single European Market.
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CENELEC concentrates most of its work on two key publications: The European Standard (EN) and the Harmonization Document (HD). These two documents are commonly referred to as "standards" and must be implemented in all CENELEC member countries, who must also withdraw any conflicting standards.
EN - European Standard: It is a normative document available, in principle, in the three official languages of CENELEC (English, French and German) that cannot be in conflict with any other CENELEC standard. EN's are the most important documents published by CENELEC. Its development is governed by the principles of consensus, openness and transparency. There is also a national commitment to implement it as a national standard in each of the member countries of CENELEC.
HD - Harmonization Document: Same characteristics as the EN except for the fact that there is no obligation to publish an identical national standard at national level (may be done in different documents or parts), taking into account that the technical content of the HD must be transposed in an equal manner everywhere.
European standards are mostly based on international IEC-standards. EN standards have to be implemented as technically identical national standards. There are a few differences in the implementation process of EN's and HD's. Basically, the EN must be transposed as it is, not adding or deleting anything. The process for HD's is a bit more flexible. It is the technical content that must be transposed, no matter the wording or how many documents are made from it.
Because EN standards have to be implemented to technically identical national standards, it is necessary nationally to follow standardization work and to contribute continuously to different phases of standards’ preparation processes.
The preparation of standards is illustrated in the following schemes:
- Preparation by corresponding system of IEC-, EN- and SFS-standards
- Preparation of EN- and SFS-standards