Development of Frankfurt Agreement deliverables 


IEC and CENELEC signed an Agreement on ‘Common planning of new work and parallel voting’, the CENELEC Guide 13, better known as the ‘Frankfurt Agreement’ (the first agreement was signed in 1991, known as the "Lugano agreement", then replaced by the "Dresden agreement" in 1996 until it was revised as "Frankfurt agreement" in 2016).

The Frankfurt Agreement concerns the adoption of International Standards as European Standards. Other deliverables, i.e. Technical Specifications and Technical Reports are not part of the agreement.

The aim of this agreement is to promote the exchange of information, to increase transparency and to avoid  duplication of work. 
Mainly the work is developed by IEC and adopted through parallel procedure at CENELEC level. In some cases work is initiated by CENELEC and offered to IEC, either as a European Work Item (EWI) or as a published European Standard.

The implementation of the Frankfurt Agreement is described in the 'Day-to-day management' document.

What is the purpose of the Frankfurt Agreement? Why is it needed?

The main objective of the Frankfurt Agreement is to ensure that we make the best use of the resources available for standardization. It helps IEC and CENELEC in exchanging information and increasing the transparency of IEC work to CENELEC members, as well as helping to make sure work does not have to happen twice, i.e. at the regional (European) and international level.
The Agreement underlines the fact that (as stipulated in the WTO Code of Conduct) international standardization has primacy over regional and national standardization. This is because International Standards are designed to support the harmonisation of national standards, and national or regional technical regulations, reducing non-tariff technical barriers to trade. Where an International Standard is adopted as a European Standard, there is an obligation of the CENELEC Members to implement it as a national standard and withdraw any conflicting standards.
However, the Agreement also recognizes that the European stakeholders could have particular needs that cannot be accommodated at international level e.g. in supporting Single European Market.

What are the main provisions of the Frankfurt Agreement?

The Frankfurt Agreement consists of three main pillars of cooperation between IEC and CENELEC:
• Offering CENELEC New Work items for European Standards to IEC
• Parallel vote on draft International Standards
• Offering European Standards to IEC for possible conversion into an International Standards
Note: This also applies to Harmonization Documents (HD).