Consumer Summit 2018

ANEC Deputy Secretary-General, Chiara Giovannini, took part in the Consumer Summit 2018 panel discussion ‘Future priorities for European Consumer protection - Challenges ahead’ on 28 November.

Talking about consumer choice in a time of information asymmetry which is increased by digital technologies, Chiara stressed the importance of perceived and real asymmetries between consumers and business in both commercial relations and the influencing of European decision-making.

Co-organised by the EESC and the EC as a follow-up to the national Consumer Dialogues, the Summit shared the results of outreach to Member States and offered opportunity for representatives of civil society, national authorities, academia, consumer and business organisations to share their views.

Please find more information about the event here.

Attendedees of the Consumer Summit

                                The European Economic and Social Committee picture


Consumer Safety Network

On 4 December, DG JUST hosted a workshop to improve cooperation between consumer organisations and national market surveillance authorities on product safety. Apart from the authorities, the workshop was attended by ANEC, BEUC, ICRT and national consumer organisations from Slovenia, Sweden, Italy, Greece and UK. Participants discussed current cooperation and opportunities for improvement.

Although consumer organisations take European standards into account when conducting comparative product testing, consumer expectations are not always met by compliance with standards alone. Moreover, despite most national authorities not being able to use the results of consumer tests according to their legislation and rules, non-standard testing results are still important in improving standards.

Concerning the possible role of the EC in facilitating dialogue and cooperation, it was suggested the EC could host an annual survey of authorities and consumer organisations in order to indicate trends and hot topics. The results could improve the planning of market surveillance and product testing. Workshops could also be used to discuss more detailed issues (e.g. how is sampling done, how is the risk assessment done, …), both at EU and at national level.

ANEC welcomes the EC initiative and looks forward to continuing the dialogue.

Meeting attendees

Communication on Harmonised Standards

On 22 November, the EC published two related Communications. The first was a broad Communication on the Single Market. The second was a more focused Communication on Harmonised Standards, confirming the EC’s intent to streamline and further codify its procedures for the citation of Harmonised Standards, following the “James Elliott” ruling of the European Court of Justice that a Harmonised Standard forms part of EU law (https://bit.ly/2QcXLM6).

ANEC welcomes the further acknowledgement in the Communication on Harmonised Standards of the role that consumers and broader societal interests play in enhancing the quality of European standards.

More information on both Communications can be found in the EC press releases: https://bit.ly/2BY6hXd and https://bit.ly/2FDga0t.

Happy 5th anniversary, SBS!

Small Business Standards celebrated its fifth birthday on 4 December with a cocktail event at the European Parliament in Brussels. SBS represents the collective voice of European SMEs in standardisation and hence is a peer organisation of ANEC.

ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell, joined the celebration, and conveyed our best wishes to SBS members and colleagues.

SBS president cutting a cake

                              The President of SBS, Gunilla Almgren (SBS picture)

Child Safety

Twelve Toy Safety Tips with TIE. . .

Ahead of the holiday season, ANEC has joined Toy Industries Europe (TIE) in a campaign to raise awareness on toy safety. We relaunched the short video from a few years ago that features 12 simple tips on buying safe toys. We trust Santa remembered all of them!

Safety tips quote

. . . and a guide to the toy safety ecosystem

As part of the 25th anniversary of the Single Market (#SingleMarket), ANEC and TIE have also partnered with CEN-CENELEC and DG GROW to produce a guide to the toy safety ecosystem in Europe. For more information, please visit CEN-CENELEC website.

New standards on toy trampolines and domestic spas & hot tubs

ANEC welcomes publication of EN 71-14 ‘Safety of Toys – Part 14: Trampolines for domestic use’. We were active in the development of the standard, which now covers in-ground (buried) trampolines. Most of our views were reflected.

EN 17125 ‘Domestic spas and hot tubs - Safety requirements and test methods’ was also published recently. Although ANEC gave a favourable Opinion on the standard, as it covers the safety of children to some extent, we regret its level of ambition. We are not convinced it covers all aspects of child safety (e.g. no mandatory requirement for a safety cover to prevent access to children when not in use). We would therefore welcome an immediate revision.


European Day of Persons with Disabilities

Hosted by the EC, in partnership with the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European Day of Persons with Disabilities is part of a wider effort to promote the mainstreaming of disability issues, and to raise awareness of the everyday challenges faced by persons with disabilities. This year, the European Year of Cultural Heritage, special attention was given to the accessibility of cultural heritage.

For many years, ANEC has worked for the use of standards to enhance the accessibility of the built environment, and believe cultural heritage should be able to be enjoyed equally by all citizens.

Learn more about the European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2018 and our work on Accessibility.

Poster of European Day of persons with disabilities

Domestic Appliances

Evaluation of the LVD

DG GROW is conducting an evaluation of the Low Voltage Direction (LVD) 2014/35/EU, by analysing the function and performance of the Directive in achieving its objective relating to the internal market and the safety of consumers. ANEC was interviewed to discuss the current functioning of the Directive, problems and potential solutions.

We believe the LVD, which covers the safety of electrical household products, has generally worked well in providing a good level of protection for consumers throughout the EU.

Nevertheless, we believe improvement to the Directive is possible in order for it to reflect the state of the art. These include a lowering of the voltage to zero so that products, such as lithium batteries below 50V, would be covered by the scope of the LVD. In addition, as many new products make use of technological innovation, the scope of the Directive must be updated to reflect the concept of ‘security for safety’, in order to reflect cybersecurity and the data security of connected products.

Concerning the main obstacle to the effective application of the LVD at EU/national level, we argue for market surveillance to be strengthened as it is fragmented, inadequate and poorly resourced.  We consider there is an urgent need to establish a European framework for market surveillance in order to ensure a coherent approach to market surveillance activities across Member States, and to make more financial and human resources available for surveillance activities. Market surveillance of online sales is crucial.

In order for market surveillance authorities to have an overview of the enormous range of LVD products on the market, ANEC encourages the development of a product registration database for LVD products, similar to the obligations set in the Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 on energy labelling.

In order to adapt the LVD in view of changing markets, new technologies and an evolving regulatory landscape, we believe that there should be a provision in the LVD to allow for co-operation between the EC, Member States and stakeholders (including consumers) to specify the essential safety requirements without amendment of the Directive itself. This comitology procedure should also include the possibility to set limit values.

During the past years, there have been several Formal Objections from authorities against standards for electrical household products, of which the majority remains unsolved, often due to opposition from industry. We call on authorities in the EU to become more engaged in the standards process. We do not believe it enough to rely on the Formal Objection procedure alone. We also look to the EC being given greater powers in seeking solutions to Formal Objections.

More generally, we repeat our long-standing call to move CE marking from the product to its packaging or technical file, as it is a mark for surveillance authorities and not a “safety mark” for consumers.

CO kills! Be aware!

Incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning are more common during the colder months. With temperatures dropping, ANEC is again aiming to raise awareness of the risks of using a charcoal barbecue indoors as a source of heat.

In 2017, ANEC supported adoption by CEN of EN 1860-1/A1 “Appliances, solid fuels and firelighters for barbecuing – Part 1: Barbecues burning solid fuels - Requirements & test methods”. The amendment introduced a safety symbol to appear on barbecues in order to warn consumers not to use barbeques indoors because of the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

For more on the dangers of #carbonmonoxide poisoning and safety tips, read our leaflet with CSI, ‘Carbon monoxide-The silent killer’ available here: https://goo.gl/6VDBvf .

Leaflet cover: CO2 kills


ANEC Sustainability WG meets

The annual meeting of the ANEC Sustainability WG was held in Brussels on 15-16 November. 

The meeting welcomed several speakers from the EC, notably from DG SANTE and DG ENV. Their presentations enabled a fruitful exchange of views between WG members and the EC on food contact materials and other chemicals legislation, as well as on the EC’s horizontal approach to material efficiency.

Our thanks to the Test-Achats for their kindness in hosting the meeting.

Meeting participants

A right to high-quality drinking water

All EU consumers have a right to high-quality drinking water. Further to the requirements achieved for products in contact with drinking water in the European Parliament report on the Drinking Water Directive, adopted in the plenary of October, ANEC co-authored an article for Euractiv with Eureau and EUdrinkingwater.

As representatives of consumers, drinking water suppliers, and industrial manufacturers of materials in contact with drinking water, we support the proposal of 10 Member States which asks for the harmonisation of hygiene requirements for materials in contact with drinking water.

Water tap

Digital Society

The challenges of autonomous mobility

ANEC expert, John Ketchell, took part in the CEN-CENELEC stakeholder workshop ‘Urban Autonomous Mobility: What Role for Standards?’. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the multi-sectoral approach needed to address the challenges posed to urban transport by automated mobility, and to identify ways in which standards could contribute to providing solutions.

Speaking in the panel on standardisation priorities, John noted that consumers do not always receive enough safety advice on the use of drones, as the internet provides sources of supply other than specialist retailers. However, standards could be used to provide clear and understandable information about the do’s and don’ts of flying a drone.

More information about the event and its conclusions can be found here

Panellists at the Workshop


New ISO standard on medical spas

An increasing number of consumers are choosing health tourism services with the desire to escape the stresses of daily life, or to receive healthcare abroad. Hence, there is interest in identifying the common elements of quality service provision.

Further to work in ISO TC 228 WG 2 ‘Health tourism services’, a new standard was published in November. ISO 21426 Tourism and related services — Medical spas — Service requirements specifies requirements for the provision of quality services at medical spas that use natural healing waters (except sea water) and other natural resources.

ANEC is active in the parent committee, ISO TC 228 ‘Tourism and related services’, which has overseen the publication of 28 standards so far. 

Traffic & Mobility

The right track to road safety

A coalition of automotive supplier companies, cities and groups campaigning for greater road safety called on EU Industry Ministers to give their support to a proposed package of new vehicle safety measures at the EU Competitiveness Council meeting on Thursday 29 November. We are pleased the Council agreed on a first step for tougher rules on vehicle safety.

Traffic environment

News from ANEC member countries

The importance of consumer participation

The DIN Consumer Council has published a brochure on the role of standards in consumers’ lives and the importance of consumer involvement in standardisation. The Council is a permanent member of the DIN Presidential Board. Founded in 1974, it works to represent German consumer interests in national, European and international standardisation.

DIN  Consumer Council poster


Thank you for your interest in ANEC and for following us this year!

We look forward to bringing you more stories in 2019!

Xmas greetings


List of comments 2018 List of meetings 2018

For comments or if you wish to write an article for the ANEC Newsletter, please contact:  Ieva GALKYTÉ (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).