2016 - Ed. 4
CEN-CENELEC debate ‘Joint Initiative on European Standardisation’
On 20 April, CEN & CENELEC organised a debate on the Joint Initiative on Standardisation. The event, hosted by Catherine Stihler MEP (S&D) & IMCO Vice-Chair, was attended by over 30 people. The topics included European policies and initiatives, such as the Digital Single Market and digitalisation of European industry, REFIT programme, and international trade.
ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell, made a statement welcoming the initiatives aimed at upgrading the Single Market to meet new challenges, but regretted the focus of the Single Market Strategy on the supply side to make “business easier for business”. He noted that, without confident consumers, the demand for the products & services of business will not be optimized. He added that the European Standardisation System would gain from enabling the more effective representation of consumers (and other underrepresented stakeholders), while respecting a system built (mostly) on the national delegation principle. He went on to stress that, without the participation of underrepresented stakeholders in the writing of standards, products will not be as safe, as interoperable, as accessible or sustainable as they should be. Mr Russell ended by accepting that the cost to the public purse of aiding the participation of weaker stakeholders in European standardisation through the four "Annex III Organisations" was 3m to 4m€ annually. Nevertheless, he considered this a reasonable "insurance premium" in safeguarding the legitimacy of a European Standardisation System worth 10bn€ to 100bn€.
The full recording of the ANEC Secretary-General’s intervention is available at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/hnkqz5m
25th anniversary of PROSAFE
In 2016, PROSAFE (Product Safety Forum of Europe) celebrates its 25th anniversary.
ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell, spoke at the official celebratory event on 21 April. Mr Russell congratulated PROSAFE on its real and effective contribution to surveillance in EU Member States. He reflected on market surveillance’s key role in consumer safety and in the effective functioning of the Single Market.
PROSAFE launches new market surveillance actions
On 20 April, ANEC joined the launch of the latest PROSAFE joint market surveillance actions. During 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 Care Articles (soothers and soother holders), Toys (plasticized toys), Playground equipment, Power Tools and Electrical Appliances (blenders, mixers and toasters). PROSAFE will engage with stakeholders before the kick-off of each activity. ANEC plans to attend the kick-off meetings and participate as a stakeholder.
In addition to the product-specific activities, the Joint Action includes a number of method development activities which will focus on impact improvement and new emerging issues. A risk assessment of chemicals in consumer products will be carried out, and a new e-learning module will be developed based on existing modules (e.g. cots). PROSAFE will ensure the continual development of the activities as part of a rolling programme of market surveillance.
Political agreement on Web Accessibility Directive proposal
On 3 May, the EP, Council and EC reached political agreement on the proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites.
Three years after the publication of the proposal, during the so-called ‘trialogue’ negotiations, the Dutch Presidency of the Council and European Parliament reached an informal deal on the EU-wide rules intended to make websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies accessible.
The text covers websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies with a limited number of exceptions (e.g. broadcasters, livestreaming). ANEC is pleased that it refers to standards to achieve better accessibility. The draft directive also requires regular monitoring by Member States, with reports communicated to the EC and made public.
As a next step, the text will have to be formally approved by the Parliament and the Council prior to its publication the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Member States will have 21 months to transpose the text into their national legislation.
EESC public hearing on European Accessibility Act
On 13 April, the European Economic & Social Committee (EESC) hosted a public hearing on the proposal for a European Accessibility Act, published by the EC in December 2015.
ANEC Senior Manager, Policy & Innovation, Chiara Giovannini, presented ANEC’s position on the proposal. We support a legal basis for the accessibility of products and services that would be underpinned by standards, following our experience in the safety of products. She stressed the importance of effective market surveillance, and noted that consumers should be advised about the lack of accessibility of a product or service – as well as surveillance authorities - as accessibility assessed by the economic operator represents fundamental change.
The EESC is currently preparing an opinion on the Commission's proposal. The conclusions of the hearing will feed directly into the work of the drafting group which met after the hearing.
EP report on making food contact materials safer
ANEC issued a new position paper on Materials Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004) as its contribution to a report (2015/2259(INI)) drafted by the Parliament's ENVI committee (Rapporteur, Christel Schaldemose MEP).
In the paper, we detail the approach called for in our paper ‘Hazardous chemicals in products. The need for enhanced EU regulations’ in order to strengthen the regulatory framework for food contact materials by:
excluding certain substances of high concern - such as CMRs - in all food contact materials in the Framework Regulation for materials in contact with food (Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004) using a strict limit;
reviewing existing implementing measures with a view to filling existing gaps and to adapting measures to the state-of-the-art;
introducing specific measures for all materials listed in Annex I to the Framework Regulation not yet covered by regulatory provisions.
ANEC very much welcomes the EP draft report. Its essence, and several key conclusions are in line with our position. Nevertheless, we think some recommendations should be revisited, especially those on "Implementation of EU legislation on FCMs successes and gaps".
ANEC position on Aniline in toys
In parallel to the ANEC position paper on formaldehyde (see our previous Newsletter 2016-Ed.3), ANEC also issued a position paper on aniline in toys. Aniline has been classified as a (suspected) non-threshold carcinogen, i.e. a substance that should not be present in toys. The paper discusses the need for an aniline limit for toys intended for use by children under 36 months, and in other toys intended to be placed in the mouth, taking into account food contact material legislation. It reviews existing regulatory and normative provisions including available test methods.
The document provides evidence on the occurrence of aniline in articles intended for children. Reports show aniline has been found at levels up to 1200mg/kg in articles for babies (using methods to determine primary aromatic amines after reductive cleavage).
For aniline, it is recommended to adopt:
a limit of 30 mg/kg for toy articles made of textile and leather, in line with REACH provisions for carcinogenic primary aromatic amines released from azo colourants, including any "free" aniline;
corresponding test methods given in EN ISO 17234-1 for leather and EN 14362-1 for textiles adapted to detect aniline;
the application of the provisions included EN 71-7 on finger paints (i.e. 10mg/kg for "free" aniline and 30 mg/kg for aniline cleaved from azo dyes) for all liquid toys.
It further recommends to consider:
a broadening of the proposed limit to toy articles of other materials;
to initiate a broader discussion on colourants and related substances in toys.
The issue will be further discussed at the June meeting of the ‘Chemicals’ subgroup of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Toy Safety, which ANEC will attend.
ISO consults on proposal for a standard on service to vulnerable consumers
The ISO/COPOLCO committee on consumer policy carried out a consultation on a proposal for an ISO Standard on service to vulnerable consumers. Given the increased complexity and globalisation of marketplaces and products and services, consumers can be put at risk or placed at disadvantage. The British Standard, BS 18477:2010 ‘Inclusive service provision: Requirements for identifying and responding to consumer vulnerability’, sets out requirements for organisations to identify and respond to consumer vulnerability. Given the absence of ISO standards in this area, COPOLCO believed it appropriate to consider a proposal.
ANEC submitted comments and expressed its strong support for standardisation in this area.
ANEC comments on revision of ISO/IEC Guides 41 & 14
ISO/IEC Guide 41 ‘Packaging - Recommendations for addressing consumer needs’ & ISO/IEC Guide 14 ‘Product information for consumers’ are under revision.
In March, ANEC submitted comments on ISO/IEC Guide 41 ‘Packaging - Recommendations for addressing consumer needs’. We commented that the safety of flexible plastics packaging intended for single or repeated use, which is likely to be accessible to children in the home and may pose risk of suffocation, should be carefully considered in the Guide. In this respect, we noted to CEN/TR 16353:2012 ‘Packaging - Safety guidelines for flexible plastic packaging to minimize the risk of suffocation to children’. Furthermore, we stressed that tactile warning symbols should be included on all hazardous (and non-hazardous) packaging as a matter of course, also in relation to the means of opening.
Concerning the revision of ISO/IEC Guide 14 ‘Product information for consumers’, we sent comments to strengthen the positioning of services and vulnerable consumers in the Guide.
UNECE Regulation 129 – important progress
GRSP, the expert group in UNECE addressing requirements for Child Restraint Systems (CRS, or child seats in cars) made important progress in its 59th meeting (9-13 May). It agreed on the draft text of the 2nd phase of Regulation 129 (the. ‘i-Size Regulation’), which is expected to be operational mid-2017. The second phase deals with enhanced CRS for bigger children -secured with the car’s seat belt- in booster seats. Under the new regulation, they benefit from side impact protection until a stature of 135cm. ANEC welcomes the decision as, although the phase 2 proposal could be improved further, it represents a major improvement over previous requirements.
Separately, CI/ANEC asked for withdrawal of requirements for integral Isofix CRS from the old Regulation 44, in order to avoid confusion in the marketplace and the sale of CRS offering lower levels of safety than the new Regulation 129. GRSP decided to agree to ANEC’s request with an effective date of 1 September 2017.
Consumer experiences and key challenges in Smart Homes
ANEC spoke at the EC workshop on successful implementation of smart homes and buildings on 26 April an event was organised by the Smart Grid Task Force Expert Group on regulatory recommendations (EG3). Stakeholders from industry, regulators and NGOs gathered to share experiences on challenges and opportunities of smart homes and buildings.
ANEC expert, Pete Eisenegger, gave two examples of the consumer experience with smart appliance control and smart home energy equipment. He highlighted the concerns ANEC has with software controlled appliances, such as privacy and complexity of standards. In our view, standardisation of smart appliances should ensure they are safe, interoperable, accessible and easy to use.
The presentations of the workshop can be downloaded here.
Safety of ICT & AV equipment – ANEC looks for an expert
ANEC is looking for a volunteer with expertise in the area of safety of ICT and audio-video equipment (mobile phones, television sets, etc.) to represent ANEC in standardisation work at the European (CENELEC/TC 108x) and international (IEC/TC 108) levels. It is expected work will be carried out by correspondence on the whole, with up to four meetings annually.
Although unable to offer a salary or honorarium, we do cover the travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses of our volunteer experts in line with the rules laid down by the EC and EFTA. Above all, we offer the possibility to our experts to influence legislation and technical standards to the benefit of all in society.
For more information, please see the vacancy notice.
ANEC Digital Society WG in Berlin
The annual meeting of the ANEC Digital Society WG was held on 2-3 May 2016 in Berlin at the invitation of the DIN Consumer Council. It reviewed progress of ANEC activities and included a brainstorming session on consumer participation in ICT standardisation. Members were joined by Karin Both, Secretary to the DIN Consumer Council, who presented the work of the Council and German model of consumer representation in standardisation.
Our thanks to colleagues in the DIN Consumer Council for hosting the meeting.
ANEC Services WG meets in Athens
The annual meeting of the ANEC Services WG took place on 13-14 April 2016 at the University of Athens Medical School. The meeting reviewed standardisation work in horizontal services, healthcare services, services of general interest, tourism and e-commerce. Colleagues from the Greek consumer organisation, EKPIZO, and Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention presented the consumer concerns on health care in their country. We also welcomed a guest from EETT, the Hellenic Telecommunications & Post Commission, who explained its work on consumer protection and awareness in the frame of the postal services regulation. Members also practiced applying consumer principles to service standards.
Our thanks to Professor Eleni Petridou for hosting the meeting.
"Safety 2016", the 12th World Conference on Injury Prevention & Safety Promotion, will be held in Tampere, Finland from 18 to 21 September 2016.
The conference will bring together researchers, practitioners and advocates from around the world and will cover a range of topics within injury prevention and safety promotion. It will offer an opportunity to discuss and share information and experiences.
ANEC will present a poster on ‘The use of injury data as driver for effective product safety standards’ at the conference.
More on ‘Safety 2016’ can be found at http://tinyurl.com/jlppuzp.
News from member countries
Turkey – the Turkish member of the ANEC General Assembly, Nerkis Kural, presented ANEC's contribution to design in the urban environment at the Design Communication Association (DCA) European Conference in Istanbul (11 to 14 May).
DCA is an international professional society of design/graphics educators from schools of architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, graphic design, and product design. This year, it collaborated with the Faculty of Architecture & Design at Ozyegin University with the focus of the conference on approaches to current design trends, as well as inclusiveness and allied disciplines.
Papers were received from 23 countries and 64 scholarly presentations were printed in the proceedings book, "Inclusiveness in Design".
For comments or if you wish to write an article for the ANEC Newsletter, please contact: Kristina Aleksandrova (email@example.com).
ANEC is supported by the European Commission and EFTA.