Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Monday, 10 September 2012 17:08 UK

MEPs back new law on EU standards

MEPs have been told that a new regulation to increase the use of standards by EU companies will make Europe's economy more "competitive and democratic".

Italian centre-right MEP Lara Comi was speaking on 10 September 2012, during a debate on a new regulation that would expand the use of standards to companies working in IT to increase transparency and encourage the spread of best practice.

Standards are voluntary guidelines for manufacturers that provide technical specifications for goods and services, ranging from electronic chargers to language courses.

European Commission officials estimate the move could increase economic growth in the EU by between €34bn and €120bn a year.

Commissioner Viviane Reding said the use of standards had led to "Europe's greatest achievement - the single market".

Meanwhile, the chair of the Internal Market Committee, British Conservative MEP Malcolm Harbour, described it as an "outstanding" piece of legislation, pointing out that it was the first law to come as a result of the Single Market Act.

The act was a set of measures published by Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier as a way of further liberalising the EU economy.

The draft regulation was formally passed by 639 votes to 18 during the daily voting session on 11 September 2012.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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