Significant achievements were made at the last EA General Assembly held on 25 and 26 May 2016 in Windsor, UK.

Picture: participants in the Windsor EA GA gathered together for the traditional group photo.

The Spring EA General Assembly was hosted by UKAS, the UK national accreditation body (NAB), seizing this great opportunity to further celebrate both UKAS’ 21st anniversary and 50 years of accreditation in the United Kingdom.

The new Hungarian NAB, NAH, was carefully welcomed to its first EA General Assembly, during which Mr. Miklos Devecz, the NAH Director General, signed the EA Full Membership agreement. As a reminder, further to the termination of activities of NAT, the previous NAB of Hungary, on 31 December 2015, NAH was formally appointed by the Hungarian national authorities in accordance with Regulation (EC) 765/2008, and was accepted as an EA Full Member as of 1 April 2016.

A great number of resolutions have been adopted in Windsor, the most outstanding of which are listed below.

Lucyna Olborska (PCA, Poland) was unanimously elected as one additional member of the EA Executive Committee for the current mandate ending on 1 January 2018. She is actually returning to the Committee in which she had taken part some time ago.

The revision of EA Articles of Association was approved, with the main change consisting in providing Bilateral Agreement (BLA) signatories with a voting right in the Multilateral Agreement (MLA) Council.

The General Assembly offered the EA Recognised Stakeholder status to the International Federation of Inspection Agencies (IFIA), entering into an agreement with IFIA in accordance with EA-1/15 A: 2014 – EA Policy for Relations with Stakeholders. The European Testing, Inspection and Certification System (ETICS), formerly the European Electrical Products Certification Association (EEPCA) whose Recognized Stakeholder agreement with EA has been terminated with immediate effect, was also given the EA Recognised Stakeholder status and entered into a new agreement with EA in accordance with EA-1/15 A: 2014. Both new Recognized Stakeholder agreements were signed during the General Assembly.

Upon recommendation from the EA Executive Committee, it was agreed that ILAC- and IAF-approved documents that are mandatory for EA members as well as for EA shall be automatically adopted in the future. Moreover it was resolved that the List of EA Publications and International Documents (EA-INF/01) should be extended to now include:
– the list of Level 4 standards endorsed by EA in accordance with EA-1/06 A-AB
2013 – EA Multilateral Agreement. Criteria for Signing. Policy and Procedures for Development;
– the updated, comprehensive list of ILAC/IAF documents endorsed by EA.
EA-INF/01 should also identify the documents to be referred to by EA evaluators for peer-evaluation purposes.

The General Assembly endorsed the final report of the Accreditation for Notification (AfN) project, which identifies the Preferred Harmonised Standards to be used by EA members as EA recommendation for Notified Bodies’ accreditation. The EA Horizontal Harmonisation Committee (HHC) will further revise EA-2/17 INF: 2014 – EA Document on Accreditation for Notification Purposes in light of the AfN project’s results, by notably including the final list of recommended standards into the document, and transfer its status from an informative to a mandatory document.

Finally, the leader of the EA Strategy 2025 project, Peter Strömback (SWEDAC, Sweden), presented a thorough report on the state-of-play of the reflection and the envisaged next steps in setting the path for EA’s activity over the coming decade. The ultimate objective for the dedicated think-tank is to finalise a strategy to be submitted for approval to the next EA General Assembly on 23-24 November 2016 in Boras, Sweden.