ISSN 1831-5380
Site map | Legal notice | Cookies | FAQ | Contact | Print page

Annex A4 Main acronyms and initialisms

The difference between acronyms and initialisms is explained in Section 10.8, which also contains advice on the use of abbreviations and symbols.
Abbreviations followed by an asterisk are fixed forms which may not follow the house rule.
The list is not exhaustive.

Modifications to the 2011 edition
22.7.2021 CSDP
21.7.2021 ISG
16.6.2020 COVID-19, OECD
29.7.2019 EASA
17.7.2019 ELA
4.7.2019 ACER
15.7.2013 ENISA
1.8.2013 eu-LISA
25.10.2018 TARIC
1.5.2017 Europol
15.2.2017 CoR
14.2.2017 cif/CIF, fob/FOB
6.10.2016 Frontex
1.7.2016 CEPOL, ECHO
10.5.2016 ESM
25.3.2016 OHIM/EUIPO
21.3.2016 EPO (1)
8.4.2015 EUSC/Satcen
30.11.2014 EPSC
15.4.2014 EAR
9.4.2014 AID/USAID
23.10.2013 BEREC
1.8.2013 eu-LISA
15.7.2013 ENISA
19.6.2013 ESMA
13.6.2013 EIOPA
7.6.2013 EBA
30.4.2013 ACER
4.12.2012 EASO
17.10.2012 EUSA
20.1.2012 LIBOR
1.1.2012 CFCA/EFCA


ACE action for cooperation in the field of economics
ACER European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators
ACP African, Caribbean and Pacific States party to the Lomé Convention
AEC Atomic Energy Commission (USA)
AETR European Agreement concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles engaged in International Road Transport
AG DE: Aktiengesellschaft
AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome
Altener programme for the promotion of renewable energy sources
ANC African National Congress
APEC Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
ASBL FR: association sans but lucratif
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange
ASEAN Association of South-East Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar/Burma, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)
ASEM Asia-Europe Meeting
ASOR Agreement on the international carriage of passengers by road by means of occasional coach and bus services
AU African Union (replaced the OAU; see


BCC Business Cooperation Centre
BC-NET business cooperation network
Benelux Economic Union of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands
BEREC Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications
BEUC European Bureau of Consumers’ Unions
Business and innovation centre
EU measure for the creation and development of business and innovation centres and their network
BLEU Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union
BSE bovine spongiform encephalopathy


CAA Civil Aviation Authority
CAD computer-aided design
CAP common agricultural policy
CARE database on road accidents
CBSS Council of the Baltic Sea States
CCAMLR Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
Customs Co-operation Council
Consumers’ Consultative Council
CCCN Customs Co-operation Council Nomenclature
CCITT Consultative Committee on Innovation and Technology Transfer
CCT Common Customs Tariff
CD-ROM compact disc read-only memory
CE as in ‘CE marking’: European Community conformity marking
CECA FR: Communauté européenne du charbon et de l’acier (in EN: ECSC)
CECAF Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic
Cedefop European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
(FR: Centre européen pour le développement de la formation professionnelle)
Cedex (*) courrier d’entreprise à distribution exceptionnelle (in FR addresses)
CEECs central and east(ern) European countries
CEIES Advisory Committee on Statistical Information in the Economic and Social Spheres
(FR: Comité consultatif européen de l’information statistique dans les domaines économique et social)
CELEX interinstitutional computerised documentation system for Community law
(Communitatis Europaeae Lex) (replaced by EUR-Lex)
CEN European Committee for Standardisation (FR: Comité européen de normalisation)
CENELEC (*) European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation
(FR: Comité européen de normalisation électrotechnique)
CEPOL European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training
(until 30.6.2016: ‘European Police College’)
CEPT European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations
(FR: Conférence européenne des administrations des postes et des télécommunications)
CERD European Research and Development Committee
(FR: Comité européen de la recherche et du développement)
CERN European Organisation for Nuclear Research
(FR: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire)
CESE Comité économique et social européen (EN: EESC)
CFCs chlorofluorocarbons
CFP common fisheries policy
CFPE Community financing projects for the environment
CFSP common foreign and security policy
CIF cost, insurance and freight
(Incoterms 2010)
CIREA Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on Asylum
(within the General Secretariat of the Council)
CIS Commonwealth of Independent States (see Annex A3)
CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
CJEU Court of Justice of the European Union
CLRAE Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe
CMEA Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon)
CN Combined Nomenclature
cobol (*) common business-oriented language
Codest Committee for the European Development of Science and Technology
(FR: Comité de développement européen de la science et de la technologie)
COGECA (*) General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the European Union
(formerly ‘General Committee for Agricultural Cooperation in the EC’)
Comecon Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
Comedi commerce electronic data interchange
Comext database of external trade statistics
COPA Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations
COPEC Joint Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men
(FR: comité paritaire de l’égalité des chances)
CoR (*) European Committee of the Regions
CORDIS (*) Community Research and Development Information Service
Coreper Permanent Representatives Committee
Corine coordination of information on the environment in Europe
COST European cooperation in science and technology (old name: European cooperation in the field of scientific and technical research)
COVID-19 coronavirus disease 2019
CPVO Community Plant Variety Office
CREST Scientific and Technical Research Committee
(FR: comité de la recherche scientifique et technique)
Cronos database of macroeconomic time series (Eurostat)
CSCE Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (now OSCE)
CSDP common security and defence policy
CSF Community support framework
CST Scientific and Technical Committee (Euratom)
CTS conformance testing services


DECT digital European cordless telecommunications
DG directorate-general (see also Section 9.6, ‘Commission directorates-general: official titles’)
DIANE direct information access network for Europe
DIN DE: Deutsche Industrie Norm
DRAM dynamic random access memory
DTP desktop publishing


EAC European Association for Cooperation
EAEC European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)
EAFRD European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
EAGF European Agricultural Guarantee Fund
EAGGF European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund
EAR European Agency for Reconstruction (end of mandate: 31.12.2008)
EAS European Administrative School (now EUSA)
EASA European Union Aviation Safety Agency
EASO European Asylum Support Office (replaced by the European Union Agency for Asylum – EUAA)
EBA European Banking Authority
EBRD European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
EC European Community/Communities (ceased on 1 December 2009 – date of entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon)
European Court of Auditors
do not use for European Chemicals Agency; see ECHA
ECB European Central Bank
ECDC European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
(same abbreviation in all languages; do not use ECDPC)
ECDIN Environmental chemicals data and information network
ECHA European Chemicals Agency
ECIP EC International Investment Partners
Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
(see also Section 9.6, ‘Commission directorates-general: official titles’)
European Commission host organisation (former Commission database server)
ECOS European city cooperation system
ECOSOC (*) Economic and Social Council (UN)
ECSC European Coal and Steel Community (ceased on 24 July 2002 – date of expiration of the ECSC Treaty)
ECU European currency unit
(used as a monetary symbol, lower case when used as a word); replaced by the euro on 1 January 1999 (see also Section 7.3.1)
EDA European Defence Agency
EDF European Development Fund (Objective 1, Objective 5a, etc.)
EDI electronic data interchange
Edifact electronic data interchange for administration, commerce and transport
EDPS European Data Protection Supervisor
European Economic Area
European Environment Agency
EEAS European External Action Service
EEC European Economic Community (see EC)
EEIG European Economic Interest Grouping
EESC European Economic and Social Committee
EFCA European Fisheries Control Agency
(until 31.12.2012: ‘Community Fisheries Control Agency’ (CFCA))
EFICS European forestry information and communication system
EFSA European Food Safety Authority
EFTA European Free Trade Association (Stockholm Convention)
EGF European Globalisation Adjustment Fund
Ehlass European home and leisure accident surveillance system
EIB European Investment Bank
EICs Euro Info Centres
EIF European Investment Fund
EIN European informatics network
Einecs European inventory of existing commercial chemical substances
EIOPA European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority
ELA European Labour Authority
EMA European Medicines Agency
(formerly ‘European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products’, EMEA)
EMCDDA European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
EMEA (see EMA)
EMI European Monetary Institute
EMS European Monetary System
EMSA European Maritime Safety Agency
EMU economic and monetary union (Stage I, Stage II, etc.)
ENEA European Nuclear Energy Agency
ENEL IT: Ente nazionale energia elettrica
ENIAC European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council
ENISA European Union Agency for Cybersecurity
Envireg regional action programme on the initiative of the Commission concerning the environment
EOTC European Organisation for Testing and Certification
EP European Parliament
EPA Environment Protection Agency
European Patent Office
European Patent Organisation
electronic point-of-sale
European pool of studies (and analyses)
EPSC European Political Strategy Centre (see also Section 9.6, ‘Commission directorates-general: official titles’)
EPSO European Personnel Selection Office
ERA European Railway Agency (replaced by the European Union Agency for Railways on 15.6.2016)
Erasmus action scheme for the mobility of university students
ERDF European Regional Development Fund
ERICA European Research Institute for Consumer Affairs
ERM exchange rate mechanism
ERMES European radio messaging system
European Space Agency
European system of integrated economic accounts
Euratom Supply Agency
ESAF enhanced structural adjustment facility
ESC Economic and Social Committee (now EESC)
ESCB European System of Central Banks
ESF European Social Fund
ESM European Stability Mechanism (
ESMA European Securities and Markets Authority
ETF European Training Foundation
ETSI European Telecommunications Standards Institute
EU European Union
in tables or graphs to denote a group of Member States use the form:
EU-9, EU-12, EU-15, etc. (but avoid this form in running text)
EUA European unit of account (replaced on 9 April 1979 by the ecu, which was in turn replaced by the euro on 1 January 1999)
EUAA European Union Agency for Asylum (formerly the European Asylum Support Office – EASO)
EUI European University Institute
EUIPO European Union Intellectual Property Office
(replaced OHIM)
EUISS European Union Institute for Security Studies
eu-LISA (*) European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
EUMC European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia
EU-OSHA European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
EUR euro (see also Section 7.3.1)
Euratom European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC)
Eureka European Research Coordination Agency
EURES European employment services
EUR-Lex website providing access to EU law
Eurocontrol European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation
Eurofound European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
Eurolib European library project
Euronet-DIANE direct information access network for Europe
Europol European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation
Eurostat the statistical office of the European Union
Eurydice information network on education in Europe
EUSA European School of Administration
EUSC (see Satcen)
EVCA European Venture Capital Association
EWOS European workshop for open systems


FADN farm accountancy data network
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization (UN)
FBR fast breeder reactor
FEOGA FR equivalent of EAGGF
FIDE International Federation for European Law
FIFG Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance
FOB free on board
(Incoterms 2010)
FRA European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
Frontex European Border and Coast Guard Agency
(until 5.10.2016: ‘European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union’)


G7 Group of Seven (leading industrialised nations: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA)
G24 Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-four on International Monetary Affairs
G77 Group of 77
GATS General Agreement on Trade in Services
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
GCC Gulf Cooperation Council
GCV gross calorific value
GDP gross domestic product
GFCM General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean
GISCO geographic information system for the Commission (Eurostat)
GmbH (*) DE: Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung
GNP gross national product
GRIPS general relation-based information processing system
GSA European GNSS Agency
(same abbreviation in all languages)
GSM global system for mobile communications
GSP generalised system of preferences


HCFCs hydrochlorofluorocarbons
HDTV high-definition television
HIV human immunodeficiency virus
HS Harmonised System


IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency (UN)
IATA International Air Transport Association
IBC integrated broadband communications
IBRD International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) (UN)
IBSFC International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
ICCAT International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas
ICJ International Court of Justice
ICPs interuniversity cooperation programmes
ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross
IDA multiannual programme to support the implementation of trans-European networks for the interchange of data between administrations
IDCP International Dolphin Conservation Programme
IDST FR: information et documentation scientifiques et techniques
IEA International Energy Agency (OECD)
IEFR International Emergency Food Reserve
IFC International Finance Corporation (UN)
IFRC International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
IGC Intergovernmental Conference
ILO International Labour Organization
IMCO Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organisation
IMF International Monetary Fund (UN)
IMI Innovative Medicines Initiative
IMO International Maritime Organization
IMP integrated Mediterranean programme
INFCE international nuclear fuel cycle evaluation
Inmarsat International Maritime Satellite Organisation
INTAS International Association for the Promotion of Cooperation with Scientists from the new independent States of the former Soviet Union
Intelsat International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation
Interprise programme for the improvement of the business environment and the promotion of the development of enterprises, and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises
Interreg II initiative concerning border development, cross-border cooperation and selected energy networks
Intrastat statistical collection system
IOTC Indian Ocean Tuna Commission
IRDAC Industrial Research and Development Advisory Committee
IRIS interrogation requirements information system
ISBN international standard book number
ISDN integrated services digital network
ISG Interinstitutional Style Guide
ISIC International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities
ISIS integrated standards information system
ISO International Organisation for Standardisation
ISSN international standard serial number
IT information technology
ITER international thermonuclear experimental reactor
IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources


JET Joint European Torus
JICS Joint Interpreting and Conference Service (European Commission; replaced by the Directorate-General for Interpretation)
JOPP joint venture Phare programme
JRC Joint Research Centre


KBS knowledge-based system


LAN local area network
LDC least developed country
Leader links between actions for the development of the rural economy
da Vinci
action programme for the implementation of a vocational training policy
LIBOR London interbank offered rate
Licross League of Red Cross Societies
LIFE financial instrument for the environment
LME London Metal Exchange
LPG liquefied petroleum gas


Matthaeus exchange programme of customs officials
MCA monetary compensatory amount
MEDIA action programme to promote the development of the European audiovisual industry
MEP Member of the European Parliament
Mercosur Southern Cone Common Market (ES: Mercado Común del Sur)
MFN most favoured nation
mips millions of instructions per second (computing)
MISEP mutual information system on employment policies
MSA Multilateral Steel Agreement


NABS nomenclature for the analysis and comparison of science budgets and programmes
NACE general industrial classification of economic activities within the European Union
NAFO North-West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation
NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement
NAMSA NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency
NARIC National Academic Recognition Information Centre
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US)
NASCO North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
NCI New Community Instrument
NEA Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD)
NEAFC North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission
NGO non-governmental organisation
NIC newly industrialised country
NIP national indicative programme
NIS new independent States (of the former Soviet Union)
NUTS nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (Eurostat) (NUTS 1, 2, etc.)


OAPEC Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries
OAS Organisation of American States
OAU Organization of African Unity (replaced by the AU)
OCAS Organisation of Central American States
OCTs overseas countries and territories
OD overseas department
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OHIM Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Design)
(replaced by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO))
OJ Official Journal of the European Union
(before 1 February 2003: Official Journal of the European Communities)
ONP open network provision
OP organophosphate
OPEC Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
OPET Organisation for the Promotion of Energy Technologies
OSCE Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (replaced the CSCE from 1 January 1995)
OSI open systems interconnection
OT overseas territory
OVIDE videotex for Members of the European Parliament


PAO FR: production/publication assistée par ordinateur
PC personal computer
PDO protected designation of origin
PGI protected geographical indication
Phare (*) programme of aid to central and east European countries
PhD (*) Doctor of Philosophy
PINC Community’s illustrative nuclear programme
plc (*) public limited company
PLO Palestine Liberation Organisation
PME FR: petite et moyenne entreprise (see SME)
purchasing power parity
‘polluter pays’ principle
PPS purchasing power standard
PSTN public switched telephone network
PTTI Postal, Telegraph and Telephone International
PVC polyvinyl chloride


QC Queen’s Counsel
quality electrical systems test
quarterly European simulation tool
query evaluation and search technique


RAM random access memory
RAPID database giving daily view of EU activities, managed by the Directorate-General for Press and Communication of the European Commission
RARE associated networks for European research
R & D research and development
RDD research, development and demonstration
Reitox European information network on drugs and drug addiction
ROM read-only memory
RTD research and technological development


SA FR: société anonyme
SAARC South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
SAD single administrative document
SADC Southern African Development Community
SAF structural adjustment facility
SAFE SAFE programme (safety actions for Europe) aimed at improving safety, hygiene and health at work, in particular in small and medium-sized enterprises
SALT strategic arms limitation talks
SARL FR: société à responsabilité limitée
Satcen European Union Satellite Centre
SAVE specific actions for vigorous energy efficiency
SCAD automated central documentation service (database)
(FR: service central automatisé de documentation)
SCENT system for a customs enforcement network
SCF Scientific Committee on Food
SDI strategic defence initiative
SDR special drawing right (IMF)
SdT (*) FR: service de traduction (European Commission; replaced by the Directorate-General for Translation)
SEAFO South-East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation
SEDOC European system for the international clearing of vacancies and applications for employment (see EURES)
SESAR New generation European air traffic management system
SGML standard generalised markup language
SICAV FR: société d’investissement à capital variable
SIENA trade database based on Nimexe (Eurostat)
(FR: système intérimaire d’exploitation de la Nimexe automatisé)
SIMAP Information system for public procurement
SIS Schengen information system
SITC standard international trade classification
SME small and medium-sized enterprise
SMIC FR: salaire minimal interprofessionnel de croissance
SMIG FR: salaire minimal interprofessionnel garanti
SMU small and medium-sized undertaking
SOLAS International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea
SpA (*) IT: società per azioni
SPRL FR: société de personnes à responsabilité limitée
Stabex system for the stabilisation of ACP and OCT export earnings
START strategic arms reduction talks
STOA scientific and technological options assessment
Sysmin special financing facility for ACP and OCT mining products
Systran computer translation system
SWIFT Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transfers


TAC total allowable catch
Tacis (*) technical assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States
TAM trade assessment mechanism
TARIC integrated tariff of the European Union
TCDC technical cooperation among developing countries
Tempus trans-European mobility scheme for university studies
TENs trans-European networks
TGV high-speed train (FR: train à grande vitesse)
TIF international transit by rail (FR: transport international par chemin de fer)
TIR international carriage of goods by road
(FR: transport international de marchandises par route)
TRIPs trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights
TUC Trades Union Congress


UCLAF Unit for the Coordination of Fraud Prevention
UHF ultra-high frequency
UHT ultra-heat-treated (milk or cream)
UMTS universal mobile telecommunications system
UN United Nations
UNBRO United Nations Border Relief Operation
UNCED United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
UNCTAD (*) United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNDRO United Nations Disaster Relief Organisation
UNECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
UNESCO (*) United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICE Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederations of Europe
UNICEF (*) United Nations Children’s Fund
UNRRA United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency
UNRWA United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
UPU Universal Postal Union
URBAN initiative concerning urban areas
URL uniform resource locator
USAID Agency for International Development (USA)


v versus
VAT value added tax
VHF very high frequency
VOCs volatile organic compounds


WCPFC Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (usual name: Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission)
WECAFC Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission
WEU Western European Union
WFTU World Federation of Trade Unions
WHO World Health Organization (UN)
WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization (UN)
WTO World Trade Organization (successor to GATT)
WWF Worldwide Fund for Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund)
Top of the page
previous pagenext page