Nordic Innovation contributes to a well-functioning market for trade in services within the Nordic countries and in Europe.
Today, the service sector accounts for more than 2/3 of economic activity in most European countries. However, there is relatively little trade in services across national boundaries.
The Services Directive was adopted in 2006 in order to achieve a genuine Internal Market in services by removing legal and administrative barriers to the development of service sector activities between member states. The directive notes how increased standardisation can bring about positive effects to the Internal Market for services, and the European Commission encourages inter alia member states and key stakeholders to initiate European service sector standardisation processes.
Standards are important to society since they bring with them both economic and more general benefits, such as quality, environment, and safety. The economic benefits of standards pass through various channels, all of which enhance the level of competition, innovation, and efficiency within the public and private sectors. The use of standards has steadily increased, however most of them are related to tangible products, whereas only a small fraction is related to the service sector.
The Nordic countries should become involved in the development of European and international service standards so that they can contribute to the improvement of the Internal Market for services. Previously, Nordic cooperation has proved to be of great value in influencing and contributing to European standardisation of the tangible goods sectors.