2015 - Ed. 9
EC Communication on the Single Market
On 28 October, the European Commission published a Communication on Upgrading the Single Market.
As part of the Communication, the EC plans to modernise the European Standardisation System and intends to propose and agree a ‘Joint Initiative on Standardisation’ with the European standardisation community. ANEC believes it essential for this Joint Initiative (known informally as “the PACT” prior to the publication of the Communication) to ensure increased levels of consumer protection and welfare. We do not think the full benefits of the Single Market will be reaped unless the demand-side of the market is addressed with the supply-side.
Although we welcome the ambition of the EC to strengthen market surveillance – as we have no doubt that surveillance and enforcement needs a single approach in the Single Market – we repeat our call to the Council of the EU to reach agreement on the Market Surveillance Regulation, or at least de-couple it from the more difficult elements of the Product Safety Package.
We also welcome the wish of the Communication to see more European standards for services. Nevertheless, in ANEC’s view, the existence of a harmonising legal framework is a pre-requisite for guaranteeing the effective use of European standards in this area.
ANEC will be publishing a position on the standards-related parts of the Communication later in the autumn.
Consumers and innovation in the energy market
ANEC President, Arnold Pindar, spoke at the CEER 2015 Customer Conference: Retail Energy Markets – A “New Deal” for Consumers" on 20 October. The event saw a debate on the way forward to implement a well-functioning retail energy market.
From a consumer point of view, Mr Pindar called for fully-functioning innovative products and services to be safe and fit for purpose. More attention needs to be given in advance to the consequences that can arise from the implementation of new technologies, such as smart meters. Such forward-thinking could achieve significant savings to the economy by reducing complaints and disputes, improve profitability and consumer trust.
Consumers expect smart meters to bring access to information, consumer satisfaction, benefit realisation and the ability for active engagement. Whether these expectations are met needs to be monitored and – if needed – ensured. Read more in our position paper on the desired consumer outcomes from smart metering.
Finally, our President underlined the importance of standards as an effective mechanism for completing the Internal Market, where technology and energy services are provided across national borders. More work needs to be done on the implementation of standards - such as those for interoperability - and on issues such as ergonomic requirements.
Arnold Pindar speaks at the CEER conference © CEER
Commissioner Jourová addresses ECCG meeting
The European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers & Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, addressed the European Consumer Consultative Group (ECCG) at the group’s meeting on 7-8 October in Brussels. The Commissioner spoke about the potential of the EU Digital Single Market and the importance of reducing fragmentation and ensuring that legislation is sound in overcoming digital challenges.
Other issues discussed at the meeting, attended by ANEC, included the priorities of the 2016 Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the EU, initiatives for energy consumers and prosumers in the Communication “Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers”, and the reform of data protection rules in the EU.
Commissioner Jourova and Members of ECCG (2013-2016)
ICPHSO 2015 International Symposium
On 20-21 October, ANEC Senior Manager, Chiara Giovannini, attended the International Consumer Product Health & Safety Organization 2015 International Symposium, held in Billund, Denmark. The event, themed “Building toward Greater Alignment in Product Safety”, attracted participants from a broad cross-section of countries and organisations. Chiara spoke for ANEC in the panels ‘Product Safety in the Digital Economy’ and ‘Putting Standards at the Centre of the Consumer Product Safety Programme’.
ANEC responded to the EC public consultation on the review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The consultation will help the EC evaluate whether the directive has met its objectives. The review of the directive is due by the end of 2016.
We also published the position paper ‘Laying the foundations for sustainable buildings’. In the paper, we call for development of a European strategy for sustainable construction in order to achieve a reliable sustainable performance assessment of buildings, provision of meaningful measurement indicators and meaningful information to consumers and construction professionals.
We provide recommendations on how to tackle the aspects we deem crucial: energy savings, durability, and information provision to enhance sustainable choices. The paper further proposes consideration of accessibility and adaptability in the design stage, as well as recyclability and the reusability of building parts. It identifies areas where political frameworks need to be developed: to enable affordable energy prices, develop a trade system for used building products, and in dealing with emissions to indoor air.
Sustainable development - standardization in Sweden and Europe
The Swedish Standards Consumer and Workers’ Council ‘SKA-rådet’ invited ANEC, along with ECOS - the European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation, EDF - the European Disability Forum, and Consumers International (CI) to speak at their event "Tools for sustainable development - standardization in Sweden and Europe" on 6 October, in Stockholm. The Swedish consumer association and Swedish consumer agency are part of SKA-rådet, the aims of which include empowering user participation in standardisation through non-profit organizations.
ANEC Programme Manager for Sustainability & Services, Michela Vuerich, presented the role of ANEC and how its key activities contribute to sustainable living. We also illustrated the work we do in the sustainability sector and examples of best practice.
The speakers agreed on the difficulties encountered by societal stakeholder organisations in technical committees but also highlighted the benefits of participating provided fair and proper representation is achieved. The event also discussed strengths and weaknesses of the national delegation principle as a principle of the European Standardisation System, and importance of collaboration at national, European, and international levels to achieve sustainable standards that reflect societal interests.
ANEC at Annual Privacy Forum 2015
ANEC attended the Annual Privacy Forum 2015 held on 7-8 October in Luxembourg. This year, the forum focused on privacy of electronic communications. The two-day event was organised by the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG CNECT), the EU Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) and was hosted by the University of Luxemburg.
ANEC expert Matthias Pocs was part of a panel discussing multidisciplinary field of Privacy by Design.
Candle flame test snuffed out
As reported in edition 7 of our newsletter, a parallel vote (IEC/CENELEC) on the revision of two standards in order to include the controversial provision of a candle flame test was open to mid-October: IEC/EN 60065-A1Ed8 “Audio, video & similar electronic apparatus – Safety requirements” and IEC/EN 62368-1-A1/Ed2 “Audio/video, information and communication technology equipment - Part 1: Safety requirements”.
ANEC welcomes that both standards were rejected by most National Committees in IEC and CENELEC.
For many years, ANEC has opposed the use of hazardous flame retardants in television sets, which is one way for manufacturers to comply with the proposed test requirement. In ANEC’s opinion, incorporating flame-retardants without proof of need would make TVs a health and environmental safety hazard. Moreover, resistance to candle flame ignition can be reached by design (e.g. sandwich-construction) and use of materials without hazardous flame-retardants (e.g. ceramics). Hence, we are pleased to see this provision rejected and tope that the discussion on the candle flame test has now been closed.
EP report stresses importance of consumer safety
On 29 October, the European Parliament Plenary adopted the report ‘New challenges and concepts for the promotion of tourism in Europe’, drafted by MEP De Monte. ANEC notes the report covers the essential consumer requirements of safety, information provision and accessibility in the context of current market challenges.
ANEC especially welcomes the report making reference to the results of the EC Green Paper ‘Safety of Tourism Accommodation Services’, where many stakeholders supported action at the EU level on tourism safety. The EP report calls on the EC to come forward with proposals for minimum standards for tourism safety in the EU, in particular in the area of fire safety and carbon monoxide safety in holiday accommodation.
The report highlights that ‘maintaining safety standards in tourism services in the EU is an essential ingredient of good quality’. It also ‘stresses the need for systematic collection of data on accommodation safety.’
A coordinated data collection of safety incidents in tourism accommodation across Europe had met with unequivocal support from stakeholders in the 2014 Green Paper.
ANEC has been contributing to the European debate on tourism accommodation safety for over ten years. In 2012, ANEC - together with the UK association of tour operators & travel agents (ABTA), founded the Tourism Accommodation Safety Campaign (TASC) with other tourism stakeholders to campaign for action from the European institutions.
QA schemes for breast cancer services
The aim of this year’s conference ‘Putting Science into Standards’, held on 20-21 October in Ispra, was to understand the processes involved in the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC), and consider whether standards can play a role in supporting the development and implementation of a European quality assurance scheme.
DG SANTE has asked the EC Joint Research Centre to coordinate a voluntary European quality assurance scheme for breast cancer services underpinned by the EU Regulation on accreditation (765/2008). The scheme aims at establishment of quality requirements for breast cancer care across Europe. In order to support these requirements, the JRC is developing parallel European Guidelines encompassing all stages of treatment: from the first invitation to screening, diagnosis, surgery & post-treatment, including rehabilitation, palliative and psychosocial care.
The conference, hosted by JRC with the European Association of Research & Technology Organisations (EARTO), as well as CEN-CENELEC & DG GROW, saw professionals in the field debate if and how ECIBC can be supported by standardisation.
ANEC shared its views in a panel that debated the stakeholders’ expectations on how the implementation of the ECIBC could be promoted. We presented our experiences in the development of European standards for healthcare & social care, noted the concerns we had succeeded in being addressed and put forward our expectations of possible work in the field. We believe if European standards are agreed upon by the stakeholders, they must cover the service aspect if the quality of care provided to patients is to be ensured.
Demand response in the new energy market design?
ANEC expressed its opinion on demand response in the EC public consultation on a new Energy Market Design. The aim of the consultation is to collect views from stakeholders on redesign of the European electricity market in order to meet consumers' expectations. The consultation is part of the Energy Union Strategy.
Although we believe demand response can bring opportunities (as well as challenges) to consumers, households will not want to participate in demand response programmes without substantial benefits. Consumers will need tailored support to help manage their energy consumption, and independent advice when comparing competing offers.
We also note the lack of interoperability among end-devices connected to the smart grid interface increases the risk of loss of functionalities to consumers. A clear programme of end-to-end testing would help to ensure interoperability of both system and end-devices.
ANEC meets Brazilian delegation
On 22 October, ANEC Senior Manager, Chiara Giovannini, met with a Brazilian delegation, comprising General-Coordinator of International Affairs, Jorge Cruz, and Gustavo Kuster, Head of the Division of Conformity Assessment of the National Institute of Metrology, Quality & Technology of Brazil (Inmetro). The visit was organised in the framework of an assistance project awarded to Inmetro. The main issues discussed at the meeting, hosted by the CEN-CENELEC Management Centre in Brussels, included the relationship between the European Commission and CEN-CENELEC, EU Directives, consumer participation in the process of standardisation, regulatory convergence, and CE marking.
Tweetchat on 'Standards & the EU Single Market' - World Standards Day
On World Standards Day (14 October), CEN, CENELEC and ETSI organised, together with DG GROW, a tweetchat on “Standards and the EU Single Market”.
The tweetchat anticipated the publication of the Single Market Communication. It was seen as an opportunity to stress the importance of standardisation for the Single Market and to showcase best practices.
ANEC participated in the tweetchat and contributed to discussion on several key points, including on how standardisation requests and standards can help meet EC objectives, the inclusiveness of the standardisation process, and International Standards.
News from ANEC members
ANEC featured in PKN magazine
The Polish national standards body, PKN, has featured ANEC in an article (Polish) in the latest issue of its monthly magazine. We must thank our colleague, Elzbieta Szadzinska, Polish Member of the ANEC General Assembly, for her help in the drafting of the article and raising awareness at national level about ANEC’s activities.
Turkish seminar to mark World Standards Day
The Turkish member of the ANEC General Assembly, Nerkis Kural, reports that on World Standards Day (14 October), the Turkish Standardisation Institute (TSE) hosted an event in collaboration with the Turkish Federation of Consumer Associations (TÜDEF). TSE President, Sebahattin Korkmaz, stressed that standards set common grounds for all by creating a common language for economic life. He emphasised that consumers are one of the most important partners in the process of standard development.
TSE Secretary-General, Mehmet Bozdemir, noted that TSE has taken steps to align the process of standardisation in Turkey with international and European standardisation. The President of the Turkish Consumer Rights Association announced that the Federation will now participate in national mirror committees and contribute to standardisation work.
For comments or if you wish to write an article for the ANEC Newsletter, please contact: Kristina Aleksandrova (email@example.com).
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