2015 - Ed. 8
ANEC in 60 seconds
Take a minute to find out about ANEC by having a look at the new leaflet “ANEC in 60 seconds”. Interested? A fuller introduction to ANEC and its role in standardisation can be found in our brochure, “What we do for you”.
In 2014, the European Commission launched an “Independent Review of the European Standardization System”, with the final report published in April 2015. At the Roundtable “Friends of Standardization”, which took place on 1 July, the EC announced its intention to reinvigorate the public-private partnership that underpins European standardisation in order to ensure current and future challenges can be met. The EC also confirmed that it sees three areas as important in the strengthening of the European Standardization System (ESS): governance, interaction and communication.
On 8 September, CEN and CENELEC hosted a meeting of key actors within the ESS to explore the common development of a “PACT” that could help meet the EC intention.
ANEC President, Arnold Pindar, who participated, welcomed the initiative but stressed it was essential for the PACT to deliver not only recommendations to improve the public-private partnership within the ESS, but to continue through to the end of the Juncker Commission in order to facilitate and monitor implementation of those recommendations. ANEC wants PACT to cement inclusiveness within the ESS, and examine the relationship between European and international standardisation in the development (or revision) of mandated European standards.
The PACT initiative is intended to be cited in the Internal Market Package, planned to be adopted by the EC on 21 October 2015.
ANEC joins the Better Regulation Watchdog
In September, ANEC became a member of the Better Regulation Watchdog, a network of now 62 civil society organisations.
The aim of the network is to follow the EU’s Better Regulation Agenda closely, contribute to the processes and debates, raise awareness among stakeholders and society, and challenge the belief that regulation is a burden for society. The network shares information and expertise, but can also advocate positions to decision-makers, inform its own networks about the consequences of the Better Regulation agenda, and participate in media outreach. BEUC, the mainstream European consumer voice, is a founding member of the network, established in May 2015.
ANEC notes the EC is increasingly looking to standards, rather than regulation, as part of the Better Regulation Agenda.
ANEC meets Consumers International in London
On 17 September, ANEC President, Arnold Pindar, and ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell, met with Consumers International (CI) Director-General, Amanda Long. ANEC is a formal CI Supporter and the two organisations promote and support each other’s policy and advocacy activities.
The 20th Consumers International World Congress will be held in Brasilia, Brazil on 18-21 November 2015. This year’s theme will be ‘Unlocking Consumer Power: A new vision for the global marketplace’. Jens Henriksson, from the Swedish Consumers' Association and member of the ANEC General Assembly, has been invited to speak on a panel regarding standards and the digital age, including ANEC’s experiences at European level.
To see more information on the World Congress and the official programme, please visit:
Consumer protection in the EU: Policy overview
On 3 September, the European Parliamentary Research Service published a policy overview of consumer protection in the EU. The in-depth analysis aims to provide an overview of the competences of the EU and examines the tools available to ensure the protection of consumers, including the role of the two European consumer organisations, ANEC and BEUC. It also presents key EU policy areas related to consumer protection, highlights success stories, and identifies shortcomings and future policy trends.
New EC video about RAPEX
In September, DG Justice & Consumers released a short video ‘Rapid Alert System for dangerous products – Keeping consumers safe’ to raise awareness about the Rapid Alert System for non-food dangerous products (RAPEX).
RAPEX is a network for the dissemination of information about dangerous products found on the market. A list of these products is published every week on the Commission website. The new video encourages consumers to consult the weekly reports to know whether the products they are buying are safe, and also encourages economic operators to notify dangerous products and to consult the website to check whether the products they are selling are dangerous.
The video is available in the 23 EU languages and can be watched on the website of DG Justice & Consumers. You can also access and disseminate it via the EC's social media channels - Twitter: @EU_consumers (#productsafety) and Facebook: EU Justice and Consumers.
PROSAFE launches new market surveillance actions
In September, ANEC participated in the kick-off meetings of 3 new PROSAFE joint market surveillance actions. In the next two years, 35 market surveillance authorities from 27 EU Member States & EFTA countries will cooperate to target non-compliant products in five categories: child safety barriers, LED and CFL lighting, acoustic toys, fireworks and power tools. ANEC attended the kick-off meetings for acoustic toys, power tools and child safety barriers and made a presentation at each meeting.
With respect to acoustic toys, ANEC believes the acoustic requirements of EN71-1:2011+A2:2013 should be more stringent as children are a vulnerable consumer group. Major problems lie with impulse sound from toy cap guns and similar toys, as one exposure to excessive impulse noise can cause irreversible hearing disorders. As the acoustic requirements of the EN are complicated, ANEC proposed an audiologist or other specialist participate in the market surveillance action.
On power tools, the main areas for ANEC are the balance between performance and safety; hot surfaces of non-functional parts; legibility of warnings & markings; and the migration of professional tools into consumer hands.
Regarding child safety barriers, ANEC stressed the importance of clear instructions for use, as faulty installation will lead to high risk situations. Although not in the current European standard, ANEC is opinion that, where a safety barrier is mounted at the top of a staircase, it should be positioned so that the barrier does not open directly on to the stairs. As EN 1930 will soon be reviewed, ANEC asked PROSAFE to identify elements of the standard that are difficult to apply or where the wording is not clear enough.
Finally, as a general remark on all the joint actions, ANEC stressed again that it is very important for PROSAFE to present the results of its joint actions at a CEN meeting in order to have a discussion about possible improvements of the relevant standard. The representative from DG JUST at the child safety barriers meeting confirmed that this request from ANEC is being considered.
ANEC at NRAC 2015 Conference
On 17 September, ANEC Senior Manager, Chiara Giovannini, attended the National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC) conference in London. NRAC is an independent register of those accredited access professionals who comply with standards and criteria established by a peer review system.
Chiara’s presentation focused on the role of standards in fostering accessibility in Europe and included examples of the recent standardisation activities on accessibility of the built environment to which ANEC contributed. Regulations, standards and technical guidance are available to assist in design and delivery of accessible built environments both among EU Member States and internationally. Nevertheless, regulatory compliance, monitoring and enforcement of standards vary among Member States due to the different legislative frameworks. Similarly, experience, technical qualifications and professional expertise in accessibility varies both among and within Member States. Hence, better training of designers and other professions concerned with accessible built environments is needed in order to contribute to the development of effective standards.
Finger-protection devices standards
ANEC welcomes the adoption of EN 16654 “Child protective products - Consumer fitted finger protection devices for doors - Safety requirements and test methods”. The standard was prepared by CEN PC 398 ‘Child protective product’ with participation from ANEC. Injury data from the German IDB (Injury Database), collected between 2006 and 2012, showed that - for children under one year of age - doors and door thresholds were involved in 80% of accidents where the children crushed their fingers or hands. For the age group 1-4 years, doors were involved in 38,6% of the cases, and for 42,6 % of the cases in the age group 5-14 years.
EN 16654 is the second standard developed by CEN PC 398, following the publication in 2013 of EN 16281 “Child protective products - Consumer fitted child resistant locking devices for windows and balcony doors - Safety requirements and test methods’.
CEN PC 398 started its activities following a research project commissioned by ANEC with proposals to develop standards for child protective products designed for attachment to other domestic products (e.g. child protective window locking devices, socket protectors, hob guards and locking devices for drawers and cupboard doors). CEN PC 398 is now working on a European standard for consumer fitted child resistant locking devices for cupboards and drawers.
ANEC calls for ambitious strategy on circular economy
ANEC responded to the Circular economy consultation launched by the European Commission in view of the new proposal for a circular economy strategy expected by the end of 2015. ANEC believes the discussion on circular economy risks being misled from the outset if the key aim of such a strategy is lost. The final objective needs to remain the reduction of the use of resources and of environmental and human health impacts. We believe the main areas that need to be tackled are housing, transport and food. In the additional ANEC comments in support of its response to the European Commission public consultation on circular economy, we highlight that although, there are elements such as recycling of scarce materials that are ‘circular’, there is a risk in promoting a wrong concept of ‘circular economy’ where efforts are made to achieve material circles that actually cost resources (e.g. renewable energy demolishing feed resources). It cannot be taken for granted that a circular economy automatically leads to reduced material and energy flows, and that recycling is beneficial per se.
We also draw attention to the need for a “resource saving” economy which eliminates consumption that does not add anything to the quality of life and early disposal of still functioning products. A system whereby solutions are found to continue keeping the same - or increasing - material consumption rates remain destructive and unhelpful.
ANEC concerned by candle emissions
ANEC recommends stricter chemical requirements on candle emissions to the indoor air. Our recommendations refer to the draft Commission decision on the safety requirements to be met by European standards for candles, candle supports, containers & accessories further to Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety. We are concerned the current provisions may adversely affect human health. We are also the leeway open to business in the standardisation work.
As a minimum, ANEC believes that strict and detailed requirements must be set which reflect the proposals concerning chemical requirements and emission values put forward in our recommendations.
Research and standards can increase consumer protection
OPERANDO project logoThe goal of the OPERANDO project, funded under the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation programme, is to specify, implement, field-test, validate and exploit an innovative privacy enforcement platform. A key aspect addressed by OPERANDO (Online Privacy Enforcement, Rights Assurance and Optimization) is the need to simplify privacy for end users. In addition to the technical and economic research, innovative concepts for privacy and data protection will be a major focus of the OPERANDO project, which will run from 2015 to 2018. To this end, ANEC was invited to join the User Advisory Board of the project. It comprises representatives of independent cloud service providers as purchasers of the product/service and consumer organisations as privacy interest groups.
At its first meeting on 7-8 September in Bologna, attended by ANEC Senior Manager, Chiara Giovannini, the project’s goals and ambitions were discussed. ANEC believes that links between standardisation and research are essential in order to ensure standards based on solid scientific and technical grounds.
For this reason, Chiara will also participate in a panel organized by the NanoDiode Project on 30 September at the Milano Expo. She will focus on the role of enabling technologies in improving consumer information as well as the importance of ethics in research. And linked to ethics in research, a major report on the state of the art of ethics assessment in select EU countries, different disciplines and institutions is issued by the SATORI Project, supported by the European Commission through its FP7 funding scheme. ANEC is a member of the Advisory Board as one deliverable is planned to be a CEN Workshop Agreement on Ethical Impact Assessment Framework for Research & Innovation (CEN/WS SATORI).
ANEC speaks at the 2015 European Tourism Forum
The 14th European Tourism Forum took place on 17-18 September in Luxembourg. Further to setting the scene for future challenges and priorities in the tourism area, the forum debated four topics in particular: tourism digitalisation; the promotion of Europe via transnational thematic products; skills and training; the regulatory framework for visa requirements.
ANEC participated in the panel on tourism digitalisation and the sharing economy in the hospitality sector. We presented ANEC’s research findings and activities related in particular to the need for reliable online consumer review websites, as well as the key consumer expectations that need to be met in actual accommodation service provision.
Annual meeting of the ANEC Traffic Working Group
The ANEC Traffic WG met on 22-23 September in Brussels. Besides the development of new standards, such as for fuel labelling and personal light electric vehicles, and revision of standards on child seats for cycles, trailers and electrically power assisted bicycles, the WG discussed further development of UNECE Regulation 129 on Child Restraint Systems, and the safety of pedestrians. Sustainable transport and emissions were also discussed in depth.
In particular, the emerging emissions testing scandal caught the attention of the experts. Indeed, since 2012, ANEC has stressed the urgent need for implementation of the new standard testing method, WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light-duty Test Procedures), intended to measure fuel consumption under more realistic daily driving conditions.
For more information on the emissions scandal, please refer to our sister organisation BEUC’s press release.
ANEC attends CEN/TC 441 meetings
With the increasing number of alternative fuels for cars, consumers are confused as to the type of fuel to use in their cars. Thus, further to a European Commission mandate, CEN was asked to develop (a) European standard(s) on fuel labelling, taking into account the directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (2014/94/EU). CEN TC 441 was created to work on a new standard to ensure that relevant, consistent and clear information is made available as regards those motor vehicles that can be regularly fuelled with individual fuels placed on the market. Since the summer, ANEC has attended two meetings of CEN TC 441 to define a single standard covering all fuels that would avoid misfuelling. The next meeting of CEN TC 441 will take place in November 2015 with the intention to have a draft ready by January 2016 and the final standard by November 2016. All motor vehicles placed on the market after 18 November 2016 will be required to comply with the directive.
SAMNIC website online
As we reported in Ed.3 of our Newsletter, ANEC is one of five members of a consortium that has received funding under the Erasmus+ programme to develop training on the “Safety Assessment and Management for New and Innovative Children’s Products (SAMNIC)”. The SAMNIC project runs until 31 August 2016.
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 called 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. MOOC will be an online course with an unlimited participation and open and free access online.
The website of this course, www.samnicmooc.com, is now available for users in Spanish, English, French, Italian and Czech.
At the moment, the platform of this course is being developed by the partners of SAMNIC, but pre-registration is available to become part of the potential group of users that will participate in the pilot phase of SAMNIC MOOC before it is formally launched.
If interested, please visit www.samnicmooc.com and pre-register to become part of the SAMNIC Child Safety network. Besides training, the SAMNIC MOOC will also provide interactive forums that will facilitate the exchange of experience and collaborative learning, all this with the aim of boosting the creation of the SAMNIC community which intends to encompass a multidisciplinary group of professionals involved in child safety (consumer associations, industry, research centres,universities and consumer authorities).
SAMNIC has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
ANEC ergonomics expert, Colette Nicolle, is retiring from Loughborough University (UK) and will also leave the ANEC Design for All WG.
We must thank Colette for her invaluable contributions as an ANEC representative in CEN TC 122 &/ISO TC 159 on ergonomics, and for her great commitment and enthusiasm in defending consumers in standardisation.
We wish her the very best in her retirement.
For comments or if you wish to write an article for the ANEC Newsletter, please contact: Kristina Aleksandrova (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ANEC is supported by the European Commission and EFTA.