Technical Articles

Are EN and IEC standards the same?

When it comes to technical standards, there are often different sets of guidelines established by various organizations. In this article, we will explore the differences and similarities between EN (European Norm) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards.

The Origins of EN and IEC Standards

EN standards, as the name suggests, are developed by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). These standards are primarily designed to create harmonization among European countries in terms of technical requirements, safety regulations, and performance criteria.

IEC standards, on the other hand, are developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission. As an international organization, IEC focuses on promoting global standardization in the field of electrotechnology. IEC standards cover a wide range of industries and sectors, including electrical engineering, electronics, telecommunications, and more.

The Scope and Applicability

EN standards are primarily applicable within the European Union (EU) member states and the countries that are part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). These standards aim to streamline technical specifications and facilitate trade by ensuring product compatibility and safety across borders.

IEC standards, on the other hand, have a broader scope and are recognized globally. They serve as a reference for companies and industries worldwide, facilitating international trade and cooperation in areas such as energy production, renewable technologies, and communication systems.

The Harmonization Process

EN standards are typically developed based on relevant IEC or other international standards. The CEN Technical Committees work closely with IEC and other standardization bodies to adapt and adopt existing standards into the European regulatory framework. This harmonization process ensures consistency and compatibility between EN and IEC standards.

However, it is important to note that not all IEC standards are immediately adopted as EN standards. The adoption process involves careful evaluation and consideration by the CEN, which takes into account the specific needs and requirements of the European market.


In conclusion, while both EN and IEC standards aim to provide technical guidelines and ensure product compatibility, they differ in terms of their origins, scope, and applicability. EN standards are specific to the European Union and its associated countries, whereas IEC standards have a global reach. The harmonization process between EN and IEC standards helps bridge the gap and ensures that technical specifications align for industries operating in both European and international markets.


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