Hosted by NAH, the Hungarian accreditation body, the EA 44th General Assembly (GA) gathered 102 delegates from 47 EA National Accreditation Bodies (NABs), the European Commission, EFTA and 8 EA Recognized Stakeholder organisations.
Selected highlights of the General Assembly
The Working Program 2020, defining the main objectives, tasks and actions for EA and its committees, was approved.
An EA MLA Mark was adopted by the General Assembly. The EA MLA Mark on certificates and reports, issued by accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies, acts as a clear and harmonized ‘passport of trust’.
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.
Following the IAF Resolution (during the last IAF General Assembly in October 2019), the General Assembly endorsed the extension of the EA MLA under the Level 2 Validation and Verification to ISO/IEC 17029 as new EA MLA Level 3 standard in accordance with EA-1/06 EA Multilateral Agreement. Criteria for signing. Policy and procedures for development. The launch of the MLA for ISO/IEC 17029 “Conformity assessment – General principles and requirements for validation and verification bodies” will be decided in due course by the EA Multilateral Agreement Council.
The General Assembly paid a glowing tribute to a couple of leaving members of the EA Executive Committee: Maria Papatzikou (ESYD, Greece), who has been vice-chairing EA since 16 May 2018, and Rolf Straub (SAS, Switzerland) who has been chairing the Inspection Committee since January 2012.
17 resolutions have been adopted; the most significant decisions are listed below.
New Recognized Stakeholders
Recognized Stakeholder status was offered to “TIC Council” and NB-Rail Association.
TIC Council is the association of the global independent testing, inspection and certification industry – whose mission is to engage governments and key stakeholders to advocate for effective solutions that protect the public, support innovation and facilitate trade. The TIC Council works with its members to promote best practices in safety, quality, health, ethics and sustainability.
NB-Rail Association is an international non-profit organization of the notified bodies for interoperability in the railway sector – whose mission is to use its experience to contribute to achieving a harmonised European legislative framework and fully support the Railway Sector, and the role of Conformity Assessment Bodies in certifying products that are interoperable and safe and advocate the benefits of third-party assessment to verify product safety
Renewal of Recognized Stakeholder Agreements and Memorandum of Understandings
AEBIOM (Association Européenne pour la Biomasse) changed its name in 2019 into Bioenergy Europe. Therefore, the agreement with AEBIOM was replaced by an agreement with Bioenergy Europe.
EA will renew the Cooperation Agreements with the European Standardization Organisations CEN-CENELEC and ETSI.
Memorandum of Understanding between EA and Mercosur
The General Assembly mandated the Executive Committee to complete the negotiations with the Mercosur countries accreditation bodies.
The trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur states (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) is designed to make business between the EU and Mercosur easier.
The trade agreement includes a chapter on technical barriers to trade (TBT) which shall facilitate trade in goods between the Parties by identifying, preventing and eliminating unnecessary technical barriers to trade and to enhance cooperation between Parties in matters covered by the TBT chapter.
Conformity assessment procedures and accreditation is a key element of the TBT chapter. If third party conformity assessment is required by the EU and/or Mercosur as a positive assurance that a product conforms with a technical regulation, and it has not reserved this task to a governmental body, accreditation shall be used to qualify conformity assessment bodies.
Revised and approved documents
Two New Work Item Proposals have been agreed by the General Assembly in order to revise:
- EA-5/02 EA Guidance on the Application of ISO/IEC 17020 in Periodic Inspection of the Roadworthiness of Motor Vehicles and their Trailers
- EA-1/06 EA Multilateral Agreement. Criteria for signing. Policy and procedures for development
It was noted that 19 actions of the Strategy 2025 Implementation plan have been successfully closed. It means that the implementation of the defined objectives 2025 is progressing well and, if we take account of the fact that some actions are interdependent, their contents being closely linked to the results of others, the plan should be successfully and timely fulfilled.
Conference on Digitalization
In 2020, EA will hold an Event on Digitalization, which represents a major challenge for the NABs and accreditation practice’s futures. What will be in future the IT tools used by CABs and how to assess them? What are the IT tools NABs can use to facilitate their work?
This event, open to all EA members and stakeholders, will cover various topics and present to NABs and Stakeholders the wide range of possibilities that Digitalization can offer them.
In 2020 EA will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. The next General Assembly will be hosted by OLAS, the Luxemburgish National Accreditation Body in Luxemburg on 13 and 14 May 2020.
HAA (Croatia) will host the autumn 2020 EA General Assembly meeting.
All the resolutions adopted at the 44th EA General Assembly are available here.