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EC Standardisation Strategy

On 2 February, the European Commission (EC) published its long-awaited Standardisation Strategy (https://bit.ly/3huTD5W). The EC trusts the Strategy will underpin “the EU’s role as a global frontrunner in the development of standards, supporting EU values and providing industries with a competitive edge”.

ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell, welcomed the Strategy and its ambitions to help the EU deliver the green and digital transitions, as well as supporting the resilience of the European single market.

EC Standardisation Strategy

He said, “In its comments (https://bit.ly/3E7h3Zt) on the Roadmap for the Standardisation Strategy, ANEC stressed the need for a high-level group to build and maintain a new dialogue between the EC and the stakeholders of European standardisation. We are therefore delighted to learn that the EC will create a High-Level Forum to ensure European standardisation meets the needs to make the EU economy greener, digital and resilient. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer spending accounted for 54% of EU GDP, and so it is essential consumers are at the heart of discussions on the twin transitions, and on how standards can support those transitions to the benefit of business and society”.

The Strategy also foresees the creation of an EU excellence hub on standards to provide a focus for standardisation expertise within the EU Institutions and Member State authorities, with the work of the hub being steered by a new Chief Standardisation Officer, nominated by the EC. It also looks to safeguard European values and ethics in standards key to the European interest, and invites CEN, CENELEC and ETSI to make proposals by the end of 2022 on the modernisation of their governance to safeguard the public interest and that of society.

ANEC will respond to the elements of the Strategy as part of its Work Programme 2022.

Publication of the Strategy was accompanied by the Annual Union Work Programme (AUWP) for 2022, and the latest Article 24 report from the EC (https://bit.ly/3hTBQFH) under the provisions of Regulation (EU) 1025/2012, the Standardisation Regulation.

Link to ANEC Media Release, https://bit.ly/3HMii1w.


AUWP 2022 published

As noted above, the Annual Union Work Programme (AUWP) for European standardisation 2022 was published on 2 February as part of a package with the Standardisation Strategy. (https://bit.ly/3gW98Ut)                          

AUWP 2022 published

The AUWP identifies the European standards and European standardisation deliverables that the Commission intends to request in 2022.

In June 2021, ANEC contributed to the elaboration of the new standardisation priorities (https://bit.ly/3gIkKu1). We are pleased to see several of our proposals taken into account, with the priorities covering consumer relevant issues such as eco-design, childcare articles, toys, accessibility, Artificial Intelligence, lifts and postal services.

Related reading: The CEN-CENELEC Work Programme 2022, reflecting several EC priorities (https://bit.ly/3GKMzMS).

Child Safety

EP approves report on safer toys

On 16 February, the European Parliament (EP) approved an own-initiative report on safer toys during its plenary meeting. The report sets out Parliament’s expectations for a revision of the Toy Safety Directive (TSD) later this year. 

ANEC welcomes the call in the report for introduction of specific requirements on warnings, as well as its provisions on market surveillance, connected toys and the online sales of toys (sadly, there is no reference to the liability of platforms). However, we regret the initial draft report was watered down in relation to chemicals in toys, and creation of a pan-EU accidents & injuries database.

EP approves report on safer toys

On chemicals, we regret the report recommends action on important consumer issues, such as further limit values for CMRs and combination effects of chemicals, only after additional evaluation and an exhaustive impact assessment. Our proposals concerning limit values for sound-emitting toys, and to allow independent third-party testing and certification of certain categories of toys, were not supported. Turning to our long-standing demand for CE marking to be relegated to the technical file of the product, as it is not intended for consumers, MEPs voted for a similar amendment (although it does not explicitly refer to CE marking).

The report will now be used as a contribution to preparatory work by the EC in view of a revision of the TSD. A draft proposal is expected during Q4/2022.

In this context, we replied in October 2021 to the European Commission Inception Impact Assessment (https://bit.ly/33KTM24). The suggestions we put forward were in line with our proposals responding to the draft initiative report from July.

See the ANEC/BEUC media release on the adoption of the report (https://bit.ly/3p5UONB).


Lifts – vote launched further to ANEC appeal

ANEC welcomes the start of the Formal Vote (of adoption) on EN 81-70:2021/FprA1 ‘Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts - Particular applications for passenger and goods passenger lift - Part 70: Accessibility to lifts for persons including persons with disability’. The amendment modifies requirements of the standard on the luminance contrast of lift buttons, further to ANEC’s appeal from 2017.

Lifts vote launched further to ANEC appeal

The vote lasts until 7 April, and we urge our members and stakeholders to contact their CEN national member to support the adoption of the amendment. We, and our colleagues in the disability movement, see it as an important demonstration that standards serve consumers of all ages and abilities.

We must warmly thank our expert, Isabella Steffan, for her added commitment in ensuring a satisfactory solution to the ANEC appeal.

Domestic Appliances & Child Safety

Improved stability of TV furniture

CEN has adopted EN 14749/A1 ‘Furniture - Domestic and kitchen storage units and kitchen-worktops - Safety requirements and test methods’. amendment was developed by TC 207 ‘Furniture’ and addresses the stability of TV furniture.

The amendment offers an improvement in safety that should help lessen the many cases of suffocation, head trauma and internal injuries caused each year by furniture overturning.

ANEC supported the development of this amendment and gave a Favourable Opinion at both the Enquiry and Formal Vote stages.

Improved stability of TV furniture


Recycled plastics in food packaging

Following the publication of our position paper replying to the EC proposal for updated rules on recycled plastic in food packaging (https://bit.ly/3JU9pDD), we joined forces with other Civil Society Organisations in sending an open letter to Stella Kyriakides, the Commissioner for Health & Food Safety (https://bit.ly/3HjUn8r). In the letter, we call on the EC to update the Food Contact Materials legislative framework before turning to recycled plastics. We see this as crucial as there is evidence of increased levels of toxic chemicals in recycled plastics.

Recycled plastics in food packaging

Meanwhile, a draft Standardisation Request on plastics recycling and recycled plastics, in support of the implementation of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, is issued for public consultation until 18 March (https://bit.ly/35EpUom). In our comments on the draft SReq, we repeated our concerns at the role recycling is intended to play in the circular economy.


Safer tattoo inks in the EU

Often unknown to the consumer, tattoo inks can contain chemicals toxic to reproduction, mutagenic or carcinogenic (CMR). A new restriction on hazardous chemicals, contained in mixtures for tattoo inks and permanent make-up, became applicable in January 2022 and bans over 4.000 substances (https://bit.ly/35JX9He). A one-year derogation was granted for two further pigments to allow businesses more time to find safe alternatives.

Safer tattoo inks in the EU

With tattooing ever popular (at least 12% of the European population is now tattooed), we called for action to be taken in line with our campaign to reduce the exposure of consumers to dangerous chemicals (https://bit.ly/2LIOriP). Despite the restriction, we still see gaps in the regulation of allergens and preservatives. Nevertheless, the provisions constitute a step forward in helping prevent allergic reactions, skin problems and even cancer.

Digital Society

The role of AI in standardisation

The European AI Fund has published an interview with Chiara Giovannini and Liz Coll about our work, including how AI should be addressed in standardisation.

The interview can be read at https://bit.ly/3tngExa.

The role of AI in standardisation

Cybersecurity under the RED

ANEC has commented on the draft Standardisation Request (SReq) on cybersecurity-related aspects of the Radio Equipment Directive (RED), both to the EC and three ESOs.

We welcomed the draft SReq and delegated act on articles 3(3)(d/e/f) the RED, recognising they address the issues we brought to the attention of the EC and its TCAM Expert Group in 2016 and 2017 about unsecure smart toys and smart watches for children.

Cybersecurity under the RED

Nevertheless, we underlined the need for any modification of scope not to delay standards already under development. Moreover, although welcoming that the harmonised standards are to be proportionate to the risk faced, we believe the risks need to be more detailed and the level of risk mitigated through an iterative process, especially in respect of intended use and reasonably foreseeable use, and in respect of vulnerable consumers (such as children). We also stress that the standardisation process used must be inclusive.

CI statement on IoT security

ANEC supported Consumers International (CI) in its global Statement on the security of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the consumer context (https://bit.ly/3GM1aYa).

The CI Statement was endorsed by 400 industry leaders, consumer groups, cybersecurity coalitions and government bodies. Released on 15 February, the Statement is testament to the critical role of multistakeholder collaboration in promoting the responsible development of technology and in strengthening consumer protection.

CI statement on IoT security

ANEC supported the Statement by adding: “ANEC contributed and welcomed ETSI standard ETSI EN 303 645 ‘Cyber Security for Consumer Internet of Things: Baseline Requirements’, addressing significant and widespread security-shortcomings. Potential benefits of IoT will be achieved only if products & services are designed with trust, privacy & security built in. But, we believe the standard represents only a first step in making consumer IoT products secure and safe. The fast pace of technological development means the standard needs to be kept under continuous review. Given more and more consumer products are connected, it is key to have clear security requirements able to protect consumers.”   

Related reading: ‘Are smart home and wearable devices secure? A global consensus on 5 security must-haves’ (https://bit.ly/3sD4Syv).


Tourism Transition Pathway

On 4 February 2022, the EC published the policy report, ‘Transition Pathway for Tourism’ (https://bit.ly/3vumxvm). The transition pathway calls for more environmentally-friendly services in tourism, enhancing innovative services and improving accessibility of services.

Tourism Transition Pathway

ANEC contributed to the report it and helped identify where existing or new standards could support realisation of resilient and a sustainable tourism sector for Europe, with or without a legislative framework. We stressed the lack of an overarching European legal framework for the safety and liability of services and its impact on consumers. 

The report was presented during the EU Industry Days, where the co-implementation of its findings were discussed (https://bit.ly/3poj6lW).

In Memoriam

Remembering Fabio Gargantini

All in ANEC were saddened to learn of the passing of Fabio Gargantini a few days ago.

For many years, Fabio was Chair of CENELEC TC 61, and was a passionate supporter of our campaign to revise the many EN 60335-2 standards to ensure domestic electrical appliances are safe and accessible for consumers of all ages and abilities. Without his vision, millions of appliances sold annually in Europe would still pose greater risks and be less accessible, especially to children, older people and persons with disabilities.

In 2016, Fabio took the Chair of the related IEC committee, IEC TC 61. In 2019, he received the Thomas Edison Award from IEC, in recognition of his exceptional achievement, dedicated service and significant contributions over 30 years.

Fabio was also active in the conformity assessment and market surveillance communities.

Our thoughts go to his family, friends and colleagues.

Remembering Fabio Gargantini

                                 Fabio, third from left, with his Thomas Edison Award

                                           (with thanks to IEC for use of the photo)


List of comments 2022

List of meetings 2022

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