2018 ended for European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) on a high note: the signature of the 3rd Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) with the European Commission (EC), followed by a similar agreement with EFTA (signed in April 2019). This is the proof of a continuously renewed confidence in what we accomplish, and it occurs at a decisive time for Europe.
In 2018, Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 has been in place for 10 years, 10 years of cooperation between the EC, EFTA and EA, with a significant increase of Directives and Regulations using accreditation to support Public Policies in several sectors such as:
- Machinery, Lifts and other products under the New Legislative Framework;
- Official controls in the fields of food and feed law, animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products;
- Climate Change and the Emission Trading System;
- Motor Vehicles;
- Cybersecurity and elDAS (electronic Identification, Authentication and trust Services);
- General Data Protection.
Accreditation and its benefits are being considered and included, not only in European and national legislations, but also in trade agreements between the EU and third countries. One example is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union and its Member States. EA and its partner SCC from Canada (Standards Council of Canada), made significant progress in 2018 regarding the implementation of the CETA protocol on the mutual acceptance of the results of conformity assessment. That is important in order to facilitate the free movement of goods between the EU and Canada.
EA decided in 2018 on a new management structure with the establishment of a new Executive Board and a new Technical Management Board. This was an important step for EA in order to improve the governance and strategic operation as well as to strengthen the technical activities.
Unfortunately, Peter Strömbäck left early 2018 the Swedish National Accreditation Body SWEDAC and accordingly stepped down from his position as EA Chair. But fortunately, he was replaced by Ignacio Pina (ENAC, Spain), the former Vice-Chair, and Maria Papatzikou (ESYD, Greece) took over the position as Vice-Chair.
Three new staff members with new competencies and skills joined the Secretariat, which brings us very close to the objective, set out in the Strategy 2025, that all operational tasks and responsibilities are managed and performed by the Secretariat.
I would like to thank the EA Members, Stakeholders and the Secretariat team for the great work achieved in 2018 and I am looking forward to the new challenges we expect in 2019.
Dr Andreas Steinhorst, Executive Secretary