How to become an EA member
EA’s membership is divided into Full and Associate National Accreditation Body (NAB) members.
The 36 Full Members of EA are the National Accreditation Bodies (NAB) established in EU or EFTA countries or in a country formally identified by the EU or EFTA as a candidate for EU or EFTA membership.
The 14 Associate Members of EA are the National Accreditation Bodies (NAB) legally appointed as such by countries or economies identified by the EU or EFTA as potential candidate countries or economies for EU or EFTA membership or identified by the EU in the European Commission’s European Neighborhood Policy as countries or economies of particular importance.
The European Regulation (EC) No 765/2008, setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance of products, provides a new legal framework for the operation of accreditation in Europe, enhancing the responsibilities of EA and National Accreditation Bodies (NAB) for/towards the European economy. In order to safeguard accreditation as a public authority activity and enable recognition, including equal recognition by national authorities in the Member States, specific criteria were established for National Accreditation Bodies. These specific criteria incorporate not only the EN ISO/IEC 17011 requirements, but also specific interpretations and additions summarize in EA-1/17 S1 Supplement 1 to EA-1/17 Rules of procedure – Criteria for membership. To be a Full or Associate Member of EA, a National Accreditation Body (NAB) shall comply with the following criteria:
- Be appointed by the Member State as the single National Accreditation Body (NAB);
- Operate accreditation as a public authority activity with formal recognition by the Member State;
- Have clearly distinguished tasks and responsibilities from other national authorities;
- Operate on a not-for-profit basis;
- Not own shares in or otherwise have a financial or managerial interest in a Conformity Assessment Body;
- Not provide proficiency testing (PT) services;
- Not compete with other National Accreditation Bodies (NAB) in accordance with EA, IAF and ILAC rules;
- Only operate across national borders, within the territory of another Member State, when the circumstances set out in the applicable legal, EA, IAF and ILAC documents are met;
- When operating across borders, under the exceptions foreseen, it shall inform the National Accreditation Body (NAB) of that Member State and offer them the opportunity to participate as an observer;
- Publish audited annual accounts prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles;
- Make information on the outcome of the peer evaluations publicly available.
Application for membership shall be submitted to the EA Secretariat (email@example.com). The EA General Assembly decides whether to accept an applicant as a Member, based on its compliance with the applicable requirements.
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How to become an EA MLA signatory
The EA Multilateral Agreement (EA MLA) is a signed agreement between the EA Members whereby the signatories recognize and accept the equivalence of the accreditation systems operated by the signing members, and also the reliability of the conformity assessment results provided by Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) accredited by the signing members. It makes the objective ‘Accredited once, accepted everywhere’ effective.
Each signatory or applicant to the EA MLA needs to demonstrate compliance with a set of requirements to prove that its organization – as well as the Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) it has accredited – is competent, independent and impartial and meets the requirements mentioned in the EA, IAF, ILAC publications, as well as Regulations (EC) 765/2008 and EN ISO/IEC 17011.
The full list of requirements is available in EA-1/06 EA Multilateral Agreement – Criteria for signing – Policy and procedure for development.
After a document review and an on-site peer evaluation, a task force group (TFG) reviews the evaluation report to issue a recommendation for consideration by the EA Multilateral Agreement Council (MAC). The final decision is made by the EA MAC, based on the evaluation report and TFG recommendation.
When the EA Member officially becomes an EA MLA signatory, it may refer at any time to its status as a signatory to the EA MLA under specific conditions mentioned in EA-3/01 EA Conditions for the use of accreditation symbols, text reference to accreditation and reference to EA MLA Signatory status.
The Signatory is expected to promote the EA MLA and acceptance by the marketplace of reports and certificates issued by CABs for services covered.
For an EA Associate Member, a Bilateral Agreement can be signed with the same purpose, requirements and process to ensure that BLA signatories to the EA MLA meet the same requirements as EA Full Members.