Within the European continent each industrialized nation has a national standards institute. Some well-known examples of these are the United Kingdom's British Standards Institute (BSI), Germany's Deutsches Institut fur Normung (DIN), and France's Association Francaise de Normalisation (AFNOR). Some lesser known examples are Hellenic Organization for Standardization (ELOT) in Greece and Instituto Portugues da Qualidade (IPQ) in Portugal.

The evolving aspects of the European Union (EU) have created the need for a unified vision of standards within the rapidly shrinking European continent. The Comite Europeen de Normalisation (CEN) has evolved as a regional standardization forum for EU nations. In the CEN arena, once a technical area has been proposed for standardization within CEN, all standardization work in that area within CEN member nations must halt. The cessation of effort is intended to avoid duplication of efforts within Europe. Given this aspect of CEN, further discussion of European standardization efforts is deferred until a following section on regional efforts (CEN).

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