2016 - Ed. 7
“Making standards serve society”
On 13 October, the eve of World Standards Day, ANEC, ECOS and ETUC hosted a conference which explored how the interconnected system of European regulation and standards needs to change if standards are to serve society better. This was the first event co-organised by the three European representative associations of societal stakeholders recognised under Annex III of Regulation (EU) 1025/2012.
The conference, held at the Renaissance Hotel in Brussels, brought together participants from the European institutions, the standardisation community and economic & societal interests to examine the degree to which European standards meet the needs of civil society, including the support standards provide to legislation and also to policies of public interest. Discussions also focused on possible solutions to make the European Standardisation System more inclusive.
Speakers included Marlene Mizzi MEP, EP Rapporteur for the “Standardisation Package II”, ANEC Sustainability WG Chair, Franz Fiala, and ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell. The conference was moderated by Brussels journalist, Sonja van Renssen.
Video recordings of the conference can be found on the ECOS page of Periscope.
Following the conference, the three organisations published a press release.
ANEC's Franz Fiala The moderator introduces MEP Mizzi
The JIS takes the international stage
Also on 13 October, the European Commission hosted an event in the margins of the 80th IEC General Meeting in Frankfurt to provide insights to the international community on the ‘Joint Initiative on Standardisation’ (JIS). The JIS is a public-private co-operation that aims to ensure the continued evolution of the European Standardisation System to the benefit of both economic and societal interests. ANEC was a member of the Editing Committee that drafted the JIS vision – signed by Commissioner BieÅ„kowska and others in Amsterdam on 13 June – and is a member of the Steering Group which will refine 15 key actions and monitor their implementation through to 2020.
Speakers from the European Standardisation Organisations and Annex III Organisations introduced selected actions. The ANEC President, Arnold Pindar, introduced Action 10 of the JIS, which aims to set the political and financial frameworks needed to facilitate participation of public and private stakeholders in standardisation at the national level.
A video recording of the event can be found on the YouTube page of the IEC General Meeting.
In association with CEN & CENELEC, the EC has also published a short video on the JIS.
ANEC signs MoU with its “sisters”
On 11 October, ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell, met with his counterparts from BEUC, Consumers International (CI) and ICRT (International Consumer Research & Testing Ltd) to sign an MoU between the four “sister” associations.
The MoU aims to deepen collaboration in order to multiply impact, prevent overlaps and, where possible, secure further sources of income.
Mr Russell said he saw the MoU as a source of strength for the four associations and looked forward to reporting on tangible progress to the members of the ANEC General Assembly.
Children’s Products - launch of the SAMNIC MOOC
Since 2015, ANEC has been one of five members of a consortium that has received funding under the Erasmus+ programme to develop training on the Safety Assessment and Management of New and Innovative Children’s Products (SAMNIC).
As there is presently no training that provides a global vision for the safety of children’s products, the main objective of SAMNIC is the development of an innovative tool – a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) - intended to provide training on the safety of children’s products to technical staff in industry (especially SMEs) and consumer associations. The MOOC will be an online course with an unlimited participation, and open and free access.
The website of the course, www.samnicmooc.com, is available for users in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Czech.
Besides training, the SAMNIC MOOC will provide forums to facilitate the exchange of experience and aid collaborative learning, all with the aim of helping create a SAMNIC community of professionals involved in child safety (consumer associations, industry, research centres, universities and consumer authorities).
The MOOC will be officially launched at the closing meeting of the project in Alicante, Spain during the morning of 20 October 2016.
Formaldehyde limits in the TSD
As reported in the March 2016 edition of our eNewsletter (Ed.3), ANEC issued a position paper earlier this year on formaldehyde limits in toys. It discussed possible limits for formaldehyde in toys intended for use by children under 36 months, or in toys intended to be placed in the mouth, taking into account food contact materials legislation to be added to Appendix C (Article 46 of the Toy Safety Directive).
In September, an updated version was issued to include recommendations for the leather components of toys.
For these components, we believe it is advisable to establish a requirement in line with the provisions of EN 71-9 concerning formaldehyde in paper and textile products (i.e. a limit of 30 mg/kg), using EN ISO 17226-1 ‘Leather - Chemical determination of formaldehyde content - Part 1: Method using high performance liquid chromatography’ for the testing.
The updated paper will be discussed at the next meeting of the EC Toy Safety Expert Subgroup on Chemicals which ANEC will attend.
CEN & CENELEC decide to develop EN under M/473
At the meetings of the Technical Boards of CEN & CENELEC in September, the two BTs took the decision to resume the development of a European Standard (EN) in the execution of standardisation mandate M/473 on Design for All, and to launch the enquiry for a prEN ‘Accessibility following a Design for All approach in products, goods and services – Extending the range of users’, in the coming months.
As we reported earlier this year (Ed.3), CEN & CENELEC decided to support the development of a Technical Specification (TS) instead of a EN. ANEC - which participates in the execution of M/473 - expressed dissatisfaction and disagreement with this decision, in which we were supported by colleagues from the disability movement. Although welcoming this change of mind, we note that CEN & CENELEC reserve the right to develop a TS if the results of the enquiry show little support for an EN.
EP wants safer food-contact materials
On 6 October, the European Parliament adopted a new non-binding resolution on food contact materials and how to ensure food safety alongside technical innovation. Given the prevalence of FCMs on the EU market, and the risk posed to human health, the EP asks the EC to prioritise the drawing up of specific measures for paper and board, varnishes and coatings, metals and alloys, printing inks and adhesives. It also asks for a ban on Bisphenol A and a coherent regulatory approach on CMR substances and other substances of concern.
In support of the report, drafted by Christel Schaldemose MEP, ANEC provided its views to the EP Research Service on the implementation of EU food contact materials legislation and its impacts. ANEC contributed to the drafting of the report by submitting its Position paper on Materials Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004). In this paper, we detail the approach called for in our paper ‘Hazardous chemicals in products. The need for enhanced EU regulations’.
ANEC applauds the EP report as its essence, and several key conclusions, are in line with our position.
‘Towards a common EU framework of core indicators for the environmental performance of buildings’
In October, ANEC responded to the consultation, ‘Towards a common EU framework of core indicators for the environmental performance of buildings’, and published a related position paper.
The EC 2014 Communication on Resource Efficiency Opportunities in the Building Sector identified the need for a common EU approach to the assessment of the environmental performance of buildings. The starting point would be a 'common framework of core indicators' to drive improvement in performance and allow for comparison between buildings. A study was initiated by the EC in 2015 (also considering the circular economy package) to develop an initial framework of core indicators, with the idea that they would be flexible in their use, so could potentially be incorporated into new and existing assessment schemes, or be used on their own by a diverse range of stakeholders.
ANEC regrets the EC consultation gives a biased interpretation of the environmental indicators to consider in the construction sector. We consider the suggested approaches by the authors questionable or only partly suitable. In addition, several critical issues are not addressed.
Upcoming CEN workshop ‘From products to services’
Registrations are open until 24 October for the workshop on European services standards, “From products to services - The evolving role of standards” to be hosted by CEN in Brussels on 26 October. ANEC President, Arnold Pindar, will participate in one of the panels.
The workshop is intended to discuss the role of European service standardisation in supporting the current move from products to services: the “servitization” of manufacturing, the digital impact on traditional services and the shared economy. It is also seen as one of the enablers for the implementation of JIS Action 12 on encouraging the development of European standards for services.
Postal services: Keep me posted EU campaign mentioned by European Parliament Report
At its September plenary, the European Parliament adopted an Own Initiative Report on the application of the Postal Service Directive, developed by the EP Transport & Tourism Committee, which includes the adopted Opinion of the Internal Market & Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO). The latter explicitly mentions the Keep Me Posted EU campaign: “IMCO Committee […] recognises the changes in customer expectations and the benefits of the Keep Me Posted EU campaign to promote consumer choice”.
ANEC and all KMPEU supporters are delighted by this recognition of their efforts through the campaign.
The EP report also covers aspects of major relevance to ANEC as expressed in our 2015 paper on European Cross Border delivery. It calls on the EC and Member States to improve transparency on public pricing and service performance. It stresses the importance of improving the quality of the service and the protection of consumers’ rights; draws attention to the need for simple, effective cross-border complaints procedures and dispute settlement arrangements. The report also promotes the use of European standards for integrated tracking systems, with a view to improved interoperability.
CI-ANEC expert addresses WHO workshop on road safety
Ronald Vroman, who represents CI-ANEC in UNECE work on vehicle safety, was a guest speaker at a World Health Organization (WHO) workshop on improving road safety legislation. The workshop was held on 11-12 October in Geneva.
Annually, as part of a project funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, WHO brings together lawyers and other individuals involved in road safety legislative and regulatory improvement in a workshop on road safety at the WHO Headquarters. This year’s workshop focused on improving national laws and regulations on child restraint systems (CRS) and seatbelts. Ronald gave a presentation on child restraint standards highlighting the basic principles, effectiveness and legal requirements, as well as best practice criteria on CRS laws, challenges and the way forward.
ANEC Traffic WG meets
The ANEC Traffic WG met on 4-5 October in Brussels. Experts exchanged views on the latest developments regarding new standards on fuel labelling, the labelling of electric vehicle charging & personal light electric vehicles (e.g. segways, hoverboards, scooters), and revision of standards on child seats for cycles and electrically-powered assisted bicycles (EPACs). The WG discussed further development of UNECE Regulation 129 on Child Restraint Systems (adoption of phase 2 and development of phase 3), tyre labelling, urban ITS and the safety of vulnerable road users. Another topic was the proposal for a European helmet standard for speed pedelec users, which ANEC supports.
Peter Eisenegger of the ANEC Digital Society WG, spoke on data protection and key consumer privacy principles; Chiara Giovannini informed members about the TACD resolution on TBTs in TTIP, and Chris Carroll spoke about BEUC’s activities related to reducing CO2 emissions of automobiles.
The meeting ended by agreeing to recommend to the ANEC Steering Committee that the WG be retitled the ANEC Traffic & Mobility WG from 2017 in order to reflect its scope more precisely.
New EN on fuel labelling
With the increasing number of alternative fuels available, consumers are sometimes confused as to the type of fuel to use in their cars. Thus, following an EC standardisation request, CEN was asked to develop a European standard on fuel labelling, taking into account the directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (2014/94/EU). ANEC participated in this work from the outset.
EN 16942 has now been adopted and details harmonized graphical symbols for liquid and gaseous fuels. It will provide consumers across Europe with information on the compatibility between their vehicles and the fuels available in filling stations, as established in Article 7 of Directive 2014/94/EU.
For further information, please see the CEN press release.
ANEC speaks to visitors from Central Africa and China
On 4 October, ANEC Senior Manager, Chiara Giovannini, spoke at a CEN-CENELEC capacity building seminar on SMEs and consumer protection for visitors from the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC), and the Economic & Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). She presented the value of standards in consumer safety and spoke on the participation of consumers in standards development.
On 11 October, ANEC Programme Officer, Kristina Aleksandrova, made a presentation on ANEC to a meeting of the EU-China Working Group ‘Standardisation’ and spoke on the importance of consumer representation. The meeting also heard from our peers, ECOS and SBS, on the environmental and the small business perspectives respectively.
ANEC at ERA seminar
ANEC spoke at a seminar on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and EU disability law held on 13-14 October in Trier, Germany. The aim of the seminar was to provide participants with the necessary knowledge and legal tools to use the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and relevant EU law. The seminar was hosted by the Academy of European Law (ERA) in cooperation with the EFC Disability Thematic Network and the European Disability Forum.
ANEC Senior Manager, Chiara Giovannini, spoke on Art. 9 of the UNCRPD, ICT and the built environment.
ANEC at CEN-CENELEC StandarDays
CEN-CENELEC held a bi-annual StandardDays training on 21-22 September 2016. StandarDays is a two-day information session aimed at newcomers to European standardisation, as well as those who want to understand the CEN and CENELEC systems better.
ANEC Senior Manager, Chiara Giovannini, spoke about the use of standards to enhance consumer protection and welfare during a session on how standards support consumers, workers and environmental interests.
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