Action Plan on "Harmonised Standards"

ANEC welcomes an agreement between the European Commission (EC) and European Standardisation Organisations (ESOs) to collaborate more closely in the assessment of standards providing presumption of conformity with legal requirements (“Harmonised Standards”).

In particular, we welcome the EC’s intention to put in place a solution to ensure the long-term sustainability of those experts (“New Approach Consultants”) engaged to assess the compliance of candidate Harmonised Standards with EC requests, and to strengthen their independence. An EC call for tender for a service contract to manage the Consultants was published only recently.

The plan, ‘Structural solutions to decrease the stock of non-cited harmonised standards’, can be found at https://goo.gl/trdhWr


New market surveillance actions

On 17 October, a series of joint market surveillance actions was launched, funded by the EC. The duration of the joint actions is 26 months, with coordination among the Member States managed by PROSAFE. ANEC joined the launch event. The actions focus on child care articles (baby carriers and cots), electrical toys, power tools (impact drills), electrical household appliances (haircare appliances) and climbing equipment. Apart from the last, all these product groups feature in the ANEC work programme and so we shall participate as a stakeholder in these actions.

During the launch, ANEC repeated its call to the European Institutions to create a pan-European accident and injury database. We noted the setting of priorities for the actions had to be based on data from outside the EU.

On power tools, we touched upon the ‘rental market’ and asked for this to be reflected in the joint action. It was agreed that a product, even when rented, needs to be safe during its whole lifetime and should not harm the user when it fails. This aspect will be further discussed.



Full web-accessibility ahead

ANEC expert, Nikolaos Floratos, has been appointed an expert in the ETSI Specialist Task Force revising EN 301 549 in line with requirements of the Web Accessibility Directive.

A Harmonised Standard, based on EN 301 549 with added accessibility requirements for mobile applications, needs to be available when the Directive enters into force on 23 September 2018. Under Mandate M/544, the EC has asked the ESOs to revise the existing standard to cover the technical specifications on mobile applications. ETSI selected several experts (STF 536/BS) who will perform the revision under the coordination of ETSI TC Human Factors and CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Joint Working Group eAccessibility. ANEC is a member of both.

At the same time, the W3C is working on the next version of WCAG, called 2.1, where success criteria for the accessibility of mobile interfaces is one of three focus areas. Coordination is expected, although the Harmonised Standard needs to be published by 31 May 2018, earlier than the WCAG 2.1.

Requirements for ICT products & services that meet the needs of persons with cognitive and learning disabilities will be considered in a future revision of EN 301 549. Indeed, ANEC proposed the ETSI standards on cognitive impairments published last year.


Child Safety

ANEC scores on standard for moveable goal posts

Children in the EU have died due to falls of non-fixed goal posts. For many years, ANEC voiced its concern as the European standard for football goalposts dealt only with goalposts used during organised activities (such as training and competition). It did not take into account non-organised or leisure activities.

In answer to ANEC, CEN/TC 136/WG 22 ‘Gymnastic equipment’ agreed to work on new European standards for portable goals in 2010. EN 16579 ‘Playing field equipment - Portable and permanent socketed goals - Functional, safety requirements and test methods’ was adopted this month, with our support. An earlier standard, EN 16664 ‘Playing field equipment — Lightweight goals — Functional, safety requirements and test methods’, was adopted in April 2015. ANEC Representative, Sandra Nascimento, played a leading role in the drafting of both standards.   


ANEC concerns shared by US FDA

Some major retailers recently stopped selling sleep positioners following a warning from the US Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) about the risk of suffocation (goo.gl/4d3nZR).

As parents are instructed to put a child on its back in a cot or bed, these products are sold to keep the child in place. In October 2015, ANEC publicly expressed concern about sleep positioners.

If the positioner is made of a soft material such as foam, the child’s face may become pressed against the side of the product so risking breathing difficulties and suffocation. Moreover, if the product is fitted with a restraint system that encircles the child’s torso and the child wriggles downwards, there is the potential for the child to become trapped by the restraint and for airflow to the lungs to be limited. Certain positioners cover large areas of the child’s body causing the risk of overheating (hyperthermia). We are also aware of risks caused by small parts that may become detached, while the materials used may be flammable or feature flame retardants. 

ANEC plans to commission a Technical Study in 2018 with the aim of ensuring appropriate European Standards reflect only conditions where children can sleep in safety.


Digital Society

“Cities set standards to become smarter and more sustainable”

On 19 October, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI hosted the event “Cities set standards to become smarter and more sustainable”. It was held to mark World Standards Day (14 October), dedicated to smart cities this year. With the support of the EC, it was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the questions and answers revolving around the roll out of infrastructures, services, systems & devices for smart cities. The conclusions will be forwarded to the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Sector Forum on Smart Sustainable Cities and Communities (SF-SSCC), in which ANEC participates.

ANEC expert, John Ketchell, spoke in the panel ‘Benchmarking & stakeholder needs for replication and scaling up’, and presented the citizens’ requirements for smart cities and what standards can do. He also spoke about the new work in ETSI TC ‘Human Factors’ on smart cities & communities standardisation which follows an ANEC proposal.



On 18 October, ANEC joined a coordinated action across the Atlantic against children’s smart watches. These have been shown to put children’s safety and privacy at risk. The smartwatches, intended to provide parents with peace of mind, are wearable mobile phones that use the internet and GPS to allow real-time tracking of children, and communication with them.

The Norwegian Consumer Council, together with a security firm, analysed four smart watches available online and in Norwegian stores. The tests revealed a stranger can take control of a smartwatch to track, listen, or talk to the child, all without a parent’s knowledge.

For more information, watch the video on YouTube, https://goo.gl/B5dzeZ.  

ANEC and BEUC have written to alert the European Commission (DG JUST, DG CNECT, DG GROW), the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), the European Union Agency for Network & Information Security (ENISA), Europol, and the Art 29 Committee (CNIL).


Domestic Appliances

EC Working Group on Gas Appliances

ANEC participated in the meeting of the EC Working Group on Gas Appliances on 12 October. Much of the meeting was dedicated to issues relating to the transition from the Gas Appliances Directive (GAD) to the Gas Appliances Regulation (GAR), the latter applicable from 21 April 2018.

Although there is a deadline of 21 October 2017 in the GAR for Member States to communicate the types of gas supply each uses, only a few Member States were ready to meet the deadline. ANEC expressed concern, as this information needs to be made available in order for manufacturers to design safe fittings and appliances. The EC reminded Member States of their responsibilities in this respect.

A joint market surveillance action, coordinated by the Administrative Cooperation Group (ADCO) of the GAD, featured a visual inspection of gas burners used in caravans and mobile homes. The results were disappointing. One-third of samples did not bear CE marking, surprising as products under the GAD/GAR require EC-type examination and assessment by a notified body. ANEC asked for a strengthening of market surveillance.


Domestic Appliances & Services

European Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP)

On 16 October, ANEC participated in the first meeting of the European Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP). It brought together representatives from 25 Member States and 25 European stakeholder organisations. The purpose of FIEP, announced by Commissioner Bieńkowska in her statement to the European Parliament’s Plenary on fire safety in buildings on 13 September, is to promote the cooperation between Member States and stakeholders in order to enhance the exchange of knowledge from fire events and good practices in fire-safety. Although fire safety is the responsibility of Member States’ authorities, the EC offered to take a facilitating role by bringing the actors together under this new FIEP. ANEC welcomes the setting up of FIEP and highlighted the need to look at the broader picture of fire safety, i.e. not only the fire resistance of building materials, but also the cause of the accident (e.g. a faulty refrigerator in the UK Grenfell Tower fire). We said prevention of fires is as important as the fire resistance of buildings once the fire has started.

We are pleased there was general agreement that coordinated and harmonised EU data and statistics are required in order to take further actions, and also that an holistic approach to fire safety is needed. The EC identified five areas for future work: data, fire prevention, lessons learnt from recent accidents, new products (solar panels, high rise buildings, green roofs) and fire safety engineering. ANEC looks forward to continuing to contribute to FIEP in order to protect consumers from fire and to save lives.   



EP report on cross-border parcel delivery approved by TRAN committee

On 12 October, the draft report on cross border parcel delivery, addressing the draft Regulation proposed by the EC, was approved by the Transport & Tourism (TRAN) committee of the European Parliament (EP). ANEC welcomes the adoption and congratulates Rapporteur MEP Anderson for having found compromises that enabled committee members to agree on the report, following the negative vote in July. Nevertheless, some requirements on affordable prices have been diluted and the transparency for consumers may also be reduced. Regardless, we believe its recommendations on consumer information, and role for European standards, could help improve the consumer trust in e-commerce and broader parcel delivery services.

The final report, as adopted by the TRAN Committee, was expected to be considered by the plenary on 23 October 2017. Trilogue discussions are due in the weeks to come.

More details can be found in the ANEC position paper on the proposal for a Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services (May 2017).


Traffic & Mobility

Draft standard on Personal Light Electric Vehicles

The ANEC Traffic & Mobility Working Group held its annual meeting on 26-27 September 2017 in Lisbon.

Among other topics, such as Enhanced Child Restraint Systems, Electric fuel labelling, Emissions, Intelligent Transport Systems, Bicycles and accessories, the experts discussed draft standard prEN 17128 on ‘Non-approved light motorized vehicles for the transportation of persons and goods and related facilities - Personal light electric vehicles (PLEV) - Safety requirements and test methods’.

The ANEC Representative in the CEN/TC 354 reported the New Approach Consultants consulted had a negative view on the draft, a position shared by our experts. ANEC submitted a “Non-Favourable” Opinion which will be discussed by CEN/TC 354 in the next weeks.



SBS Annual Conference

ANEC attended the Small Business Standards (SBS) Annual Conference on 10 October. The theme was ‘The European Standardisation Regulation - 5 years on. What has changed for SMEs?’ The aim was to increase awareness among regulators, policy-makers, and other stakeholders of the situation of SMEs in standardisation five years after adoption of Regulation (EU) 1025/2012. The discussions focused on the importance of an open, transparent and inclusive standardisation system, which ANEC supports.


News from ANEC Members


French consumer protection organisation disbanded

It is with sadness that ANEC learned of the disbandment of CSC, the French Commission on Consumer Safety. This disbandment follows a decision of the French government for financial reasons. CSC, created by an Act of 21 July 1983, was a long-time contributor to ANEC and activities of the ANEC Working Groups.

Over its lifetime, CSC issued almost 300 opinions across a wide range of fields, including toys, childcare articles and recreation. It recommended additional measures aimed at professionals, consumers, standardisers, and public authorities. This role transfers to the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs & Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF).

ANEC thanks CSC for its valuable contributions to ANEC over many years, and for the commitment of its staff in helping us defend the consumer interest in standardisation.





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