Jelena Popović, Assistant Minister from the Sector for Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulations within the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, opened the seminar entitled “Accreditation – the path to satisfied consumers” that took place at the Sava Centre on 25th February, and it was organised by the Accreditation Board of Serbia (ATS).
The ATS organises its traditional annual seminar for accredited bodies with the aim of introducing them to a large number of topics in the area of technical requirements of importance to conformity assessment and accreditation. 550 participants attended this year’s seminar (representatives of accredited bodies, respective ministries, companies, professional associations and consumer protection associations) that was supported by the EC Delegation here in Serbia and the EU technical experts in quality infrastructure, representatives of the accreditation bodies from the neighbouring countries (Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and FYR of Macedonia).
In addition to education and information, annual seminars intended for accredited bodies and other companies that are organised by the ATS have a role to boost awareness raising on the importance of accreditation and conformity assessment in relation to the increase of competitiveness of Serbian economy, provision of free movement of goods on the market, increase of product safety and security, and increase of consumer protection.
Seminar topics aimed at introducing the public to the necessity to harmonise the legislation of the Republic of Serbia with that of the EU by presenting the new legal framework for placing products on the EU market that would help all those participating in the establishment of a modern system of quality infrastructure and internal market. Given that Serbia is making efforts to speed up the European integration process, each contribution to establishing a legal, institutional and technical framework of quality infrastructure system will lead to a desired result – to have Serbia as an active participant in trade relations with the EU and countries in our region.
The Sava Centre seminar was the first seminar to be delivered in cooperation with the ATS in the period between 25th February and 24th July 2010 as part of the EU funded Project entitled “Technical Assistance to Quality Infrastructure Institutions in the Republic of Serbia”, whereas the following institutions are signatories to the Project’s Memorandum of Cooperation – Ministry of Economy and Regional Development (MERD), Serbian Chamber of Commerce (SCC) and AFNOR (Association Francaise de Normalisation) consortium. It has been envisaged that seminars will be delivered in 11 cities throughout Serbia in SCC premises and regional SCC offices.
During the opening address Ms Jelena Popović reminded the present participants that the Serbian Parliament adopted last year the Law on Technical Requirements for Products and Conformity Assessment and the Law on Standardisation, and that the Government adopted a number of sub-laws (Regulation on the Method of Notification and Authorisation of Conformity Assessment Bodies, Regulation on the Method of Recognition of Foreign Certificates and Assessment Marks, and the Regulation on the Mode of Implementation of Conformity Assessment, Content of Conformity Certificates, Form, Shape and Content of Conformity Mark) that are of utmost importance in the entire quality infrastructure system, and their very adoption will enable the monitoring and implementation of Law on Technical Requirements for Products and Conformity Assessment.
During her presentation, Ms Popović emphasised again the importance of the Law for the definition of technical requirements for all products and for adoption of technical regulations, other than for products where such requirements are stipulated in specific (sectoral) laws and regulations adopted on the basis of these laws. Furtermore, she reminded the present participants that the Law laid down the keeping of centralised register, notification of notified and authorised conformity assessment bodies and notification of technical regulations in preparation in accordance with international agreements (MERD), and decentralization of the process of adoption of technical regulations, notification and authorisation of conformity assessment bodies, recognition of foreign certificates and conformity marks.
Jelena Popović, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, opened the seminar
When talking about the conformity of products with regulated requirements, the Assistant Minister reiterated that a technical regulation stipulated: obligation to perform conformity assessments, entity performing conformity assessment (producer – either independently or together with a notified conformity assessment body; notified conformity assessment body or a public administration body), requirements that a conformity assessment body must fulfil in order to become a notified body, and the method of conformity assessment of products with regulated requirements (application of one procedure, several procedures or combination of different procedures - modules).
Ms Popović explained in detail to the present representatives of accredited bodies to what extent the adopted regulations had emphasised the role and importance of accreditation, and requirements to be met by a conformity assessment body in order to become notified or authorised, i.e. in order to have an accreditation certificate as a prerequisite confirming that notification or authorisation requirements have been met to the extent covered by the scope of accreditation.
The Assistant Minister pointed to the fact that this year’s priority would be to adopt the Law on Metrology and Law on Accreditation, whereas it was envisaged to undertake the Action Plan for the preparation of technical regulations, whereas all the ministries should propose the regulations governing the areas of their competence.
The new accreditation system should facilitate the placing of Serbian goods on the EU market, and on other countries’ market, and therefore the system should also be adapted to the requirements of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In that regard, it was planned to build the Information Centre as per the requirements of the WTO and EU, said Jelena Popović.
Mr Hose Bustamante, First Counsellor at the EC Delegation to Serbia, emphasised that the year behind us had been a very successful one in terms of Serbia's relation with the EU and that formal coming into force of the Interim Trade Agreement would boost economic growth and improve competitiveness, while it should bring concrete benefits to Serbian producers and consumers, and to accredited bodies that would be faced with new challenges, responsibilities, and opportunities.
Bustamante supported Serbian efforts towards the EU integration and emphasised that the Progress Report for 2009 highlighted positive steps taken by the Serbian authorities and institutions to introduce and adhere to the European values and the adoption of the legislative framework in the field of Quality Infrastructure and New Approach Directives.
He pointed to the fact that the EU was helping Serbia to put introduce and achieve standards in this field and that 4.8 million Euros had already been provided for technical assistance projects and supply of equipment. More technical assistance was provided under the current programme amounting to 2.6 million Euros, which was also used to help the Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals with specific supplies of metrology equipment. Bustamante announced that the EU was planning to donate additional 3.8 million Euros to help remove technical barriers to trade, ensure consumer protection and enable free movement of goods between Serbia and the EU.
According to his words, Serbia would be faced with huge work of transposing the EU technical standards to make important progress. A significant number of policy and legislative acts has been adopted, but there is still much to be done. At the end of his speech, Bustamante emphasised the good cooperation with the Serbian counterparts - the Ministry of Economy and its Sector for Quality Infrastructure, the Accreditation Board of Serbia, the Institute of Standardization of Serbia and the Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals, and wished us to develop efficient and sustainable capacity of Serbia’s quality infrastructure to carry out conformity assessment activities in alignment with EU good practice.
Hoze Bustamante, First Counsellor at the EC Delegation to Serbia
During the introductory part prof. Slobodan Petrović PhD, Chairman of the ATS Management Board, and Vidosava Džagić, Vice President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, gave opening adresses.
Prof. Slobodan Petrović PhD, Chairman of the ATS Management Board
Vidosava Džagić, Vice President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce
During his presentation, Dejan Krnjajić PhD, ATS Director, presented the work of the Accreditation Board of Serbia in 2009 and gave precise data on the number of accredited bodies in the country (371) that would include those that were in the process of accreditation, while the total number thereof would be expected to amount to 420.
He emphasised that the ATS activities were directed to the attainment of the following objectives: establishment of an efficient accreditation system and increase of competitiveness, continuous upgrade of the management system, promotion of the importance of accreditation, upgrade of conformity assessment system, and signing of the EA MLA.
“The ATS is, without doubt, oriented to the integration into the EA, IAF and ILAC, but at the same time it takes into consideration the national capacities as regards certain conformity assessment fields, and the task of the ATS is to constantly optimise the number of competent organisations so that quality infrastructure in the Republic of Serbia would be competitive and ready to embrace the principles of the EA quality infrastructure system at the point of complete integration of the ATS into the EA and signing of multilateral agreements for different fields of accreditation”, said Mr Krnjaić and emphasised that on 12th February 2009 the ATS had sent a request to the EA for peer evaluation and that the peer evaluation team would carry out a pre-peer evaluation in the period between 2nd and 5th March 2010.
“We believe that a positive report after the peer evaluation has been performed will lead to the signing of the multilateral agreement for testing and calibration laboratories, and inspection bodies”, Mr Krnjaić expressed his optimism and emphasise that the the ATS and accredited bodies as joint partners would be faced with more hard work on the improvement of the accreditation system and its harmonisation with that of the EU and establishment of a modern quality infrastructure system in the Republic of Serbia.
According to his words, the key element of the cooperation with other national accreditation bodies is peer evaluation, and Serbia (ATS) will not only be assessed per ISO 17011, as it has been till now, but on the basis of the implementation of the new European regulation.
Dejan Krnjajić PhD, ATS Director
Last year the ATS worked intensively on acquiring and maintaining the competence of its permanent staffs and external assessors and technical experts by organising numerous training sessions and briefing seminars the evidence of which is the number of lead and technical assessors that increased from 27, i.e. 42 at the end of 2008 to 47, i.e. 70, and the establishment of technical committees for laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies.
ATS Director reiterated that the main goal of accreditation is the protection of public interest: general health and safety, occupational health and safety, consumer protection and environmental protection, and provision of free movement of goods and services by removing barriers to trade and achievement of higher level of competitiveness on the world market.
According to his words, the observance of quality policy and attainment of the said objectives implies full cooperation of the ATS with all stakeholders, coordination with public administration bodies, cooperation with accreditation bodies from other countries, work on the accreditation awareness raising, continuous review of the work of the ATS and continuous upgrade of the accreditation system. Throughout 2009 the ATS adopted 23 new issues of the management system documents that were harmonised with the EA documents, and 15 new revised documents with the aim of establishing a regulated management system, efficient and faster procedures facilitating the work of both the ATS and accredited bodies.
Mr Krnjaić highlighted the importance of cooperation with national accreditation bodies from other countries and emphasised that the cooperation was intensified in the last two years. On 24th February this year, the ATS signed the Agreement of Cooperation with the Accreditation Body of Bosnia & Herzegovina in order to implement the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA 2006) and remove unnecessary barriers to trade.
According to the ATS Director the most important 2010 objectives are as follows: successful completion of EA Peer Evaluation visit, adoption of the new Law of Accreditation, improvement of the cooperation with stakeholders – respective ministries, consumers, accredited bodies... , submission of the application for the membership in IAF, submission of the application for the extension of the EA MLA for management systems and medical laboratories, completion of the establishment of electronic document management system, and continuous promotion of the importance and role of accreditation.
Irena Možek Grgurevič MSc, Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Slovenia
Leon Kos MSc, Slovenian Institute of Quality and Metrology
The following lectures were given by:
- The new package of measures to improve trade in products – tasks for the public administration, Irena Možek Grgurevič MSc, Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Slovenia;
- Revision of the New and Global Approach – View of a Notified Body, Leon Kos MSc, Slovenian Institute of Quality and Metrology
– Accreditation Body of Montenegro, prof. Zdravko Krivokapić PhD;
- Accreditation in Bosnia & Herzegovina –Žarko Petrović PhD, BATA;
- Institute for Accreditation of the Republic of Macedonia - Dr Trpe Ristoski, IARM;
- Measurement Uncertainty – Jelena Bebić, Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals and
- Traceability of the Measurement Results – Dragan Nikolić, Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals.
Prof. Zdravko Krivokapić PhD, Dr Trpe Ristoski and Žarko Petrović PhD
Jelena Bebić, Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals
Dragan Nikolić, Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals
Lectures pertaining to the work of accredited bodies were given by Natalija Jovičić Zarić MSc, ATS Deputy Director, during which she presented the upgraded and amended documents of importance to accreditation criteria and accreditation process implementation, and practical examples needing additional explanations and interpretations of standard from the point of view of accredited bodies that the ATS assessors came accross in their work so far.
Natalija Jovičić Zarić MSc, ATS Deputy Director
Biljana Tomić, ATS, seminar moderator