EA General Assembly held
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, General Assembly (GA) of the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA), which lasted from 25-26 November 2020, took place entirely online.
The General Assembly brought together over 80 participants from 50 national accreditation bodies (NABs), the European Commission, EC, recognized stakeholders and EA Advisory Board, with the participation of their chairpersons.
At the meetings that were held in these two days, Aco Janjićević, PhD, the ATS Acting Director. In the continuation of the news, we single out some of the most important decisions that were made.
One of the main issues of GA was the establishment of a new EA governance structure. Following the approval of the revised Work regulations in June 2020 GA was invited to adopt the revised Statute, which is necessary step for the new governance structure to become operational on 1 January 2021.
The new governance structure is based on the establishment of an Executive Committee and a Technical Management Board, as can be seen from the following adopted resolution:
Resolution EA 2020 (46) 02 – The General Assembly elects the following EA officials for a two-year term beginning on 1 January 2021
• EA President: Maureen Logghe, BELAC
• EA Vice-President: Cecilie Laake, NA
• Members of Executive Committee: Leopold Cortez, IPAC; Adrienne Duff, INAB; Roeland Nieuweboer, RvA; Emanuele Riva, ACCREDIA;
• Members of Technical Management Board (Council Chair):
• EA MAC Council Chair (MAC Chair): Maria Papatzikou, ESYD;
• Chairman of the EA Horizontal Harmonization Committee (EA HHC): Gabriel Zrenner, DakkS;
• EA LC Chair: Laurent Vinson, CORFAC;
• EA CC Chair: Kevin Belson, UKAS;
• EA IC Chair: Orbay Evrensevdi, TURKAK;
• EA Communications & Publications Committe (CPC): Lucyna Olborska, PCA
In continuation of the text, we single out some of the adopted resolutions:
Resolution EA 2020 (46) 05 – The General Assembly, acting upon the recommendation of the Executive Committe, endorses the mandatory application of the following documents issued by the EU Agency of Railways (ERA):
- EAGA (20) 11-20 Sectoral Scheme for accreditation EMC-1172-002 V3-1 and ECM-1172-002 V3-1 – EMC Certification Scheme.
Between 16 June 2020 and 16 June 2021, under Article 6 (3) of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/779, certification bodies may comply with either previous or new accreditation schemes.
As of June 16, 2021, certification bodies shall be accredited in accordance with the new sectoral accreditation scheme in order to be able to perform the activity of certification for other categories of vehicle as well.
EA Resolution 2020 (46) 07 – The General Assembly acting upon on the recommendation of the EA MAC, agrees that the EA MAC starts a work item to revise EA-2/02: Procedure for the evaluation of a National Accreditation Body, according to the rationale set out in Document EAFA (20) 11-19.
EA Resolution 2020 (46) 08 – The General Assembly, acting upon the recommendation from the Executive Committee, agrees that the Executive Committee initiate a work item to revise EA-1/21: EA Internal Procedure for Liaison Activities, according with the rationale for the audit listed in EAGA document (20) 11-14.
Resolution EA 2020 (46) 09 – The General Assembly, acting upon recommendation from the Executive Committee, agrees that, in case that the European regulator publishes a new legislation, including CABs accreditation, without defining an applicable harmonized standard for accreditation, HHC shall define the standard for accreditation, in consultation with Technical Committees (if needed).
National accreditation bodies should, in that case, wait for the CABs accreditation, in connection with the new European legislation, until the EA HHC Committee defines the applicable harmonized standard.
Resolution EA 2020 (46) 13 – The General Assembly, acting upon recommendation of the Executive Committee agrees that the EA CC Committee revises EA-3/12: EA Policy for the Accreditation of Organic Production Certification in order to align with Regulation (EC) No. 2020/1963, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Regulation (EC) No. 2018/848 on organic production and labeling of organic products on organic production, as regards its date of application postponed to 1 January 2022. The clauses to be revised are:
• Cl 4.4 Assessment program (accreditation cycle of 4 years to be confirmed),
• Cl 4.7 The number of witnesses (number can be confirmed for high risk countries),
• Cl 4.10 Suspensions
Because of mandatory nature of these changes and due to the fact that document EA-3/12 has been revised and published in July 2020, the revision of the document shall be in derogation from EA-1/14 Procedure for Development and Approval of EA Documents and Adoption of ILAC Documents/IAF directly balloted, without any commenting period.
Resolution EA 2020 (46) 14 – The General Assembly, acting upon the recommendation from the Executive Committee, agrees that EA withdraws the following two resolutions:
Resolution EA 2011 (27) 06 – The General Assembly notes EA/GA (11) 20 as stating EA’s position on Evaluation of the impartiality and objectivity requirements of ISO/IEC 17011 with particular focus on ’’governmental’’ national accreditation bodies.
Resolution EA 2011 (27) 07 – The General Assembly supports that Multilateral Agreement Council should include the contents EA/GA (11) 20 stating EA’s position on Evaluation of the impartiality and objectivity requirements of ISO/IEC 17011 with particular focus on ’’governmental’’ national accreditation bodies (EA Resolution 2011 (27) 06), into training process for all EA peer evaluators to ensure common understanding and harmonization of approach.
Resolution EA 2020 (46) 15 – The General Assembly adopts the following ILAC decision dated 11 June 2020:
Based on the ILAC, AMC, the ILAC General Assembly decided that end of the transition period adopted as part of the ILAC Resolution GA, 20.15 (November 2016) be extended from 30 November 2020 to 1 June 2021 to ensure all laboratories are able to be transitioned imposed as a result of the global restrictions coronavirus disesase 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.
Resolution EA 2020 (46) 16 – The GA adopts the following IAF resolution at the online IAF General Assembly, acting upon the recommendation of Technical Committee, resolved that the Transitional Arrangement associated with ISO/IEC 27006:2015 AMD 1:2020 – Information technology – Security techniques – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of information security management system – Amendment 1, will be two years from the last day of the month of publication of the amended standard.
Within this transition timeline:
• ABs shall be ready to carry out transitional assessments for ISO/IEC 27006:2015 AMD 1:2020, within eight months from the last day of the month of publication of the amended standard,
• CBs shall have completed the transition assessments for ISO/IEC 27006:2015 AMD 1:2020, within 24 months from the last day of the month of publication of the amended standard.
Note 1: ISO/IEC 27006:2015 AMD 1:2020, was published on the 27 March 2020
Note 2: Transition is not a routine from one version of a standard to another. The transition only relates to the specific changes detailed in Amendement 1:2020.
Resolution EA 2020 (46) 17 – The General Assembly adopts:
• IAF MD 8:2020 Application of ISO/IEC 17011:2017 in the Field of Medical Device Quality Management Systems (ISO 13485);
• ILAC P10:07/2020 ILAC Policy on Metrological Traceability of Measurement Results;
• ILAC P14:09/2020 ILAC Policy for Measurement Uncertanity in Calibration;
• ILAC P15:05/2020 Application of ISO/IEC 17020:2012 for Accreditation of Inspection Bodies;
as mandatory documents for all EA members.
The specific topics were the following:
UKAS, the National Accreditation Body (NAB) of the UK, is a member of EA and a signatory to the EMA MLA. With the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, UKAS will no longer meet the membership criteria, as they will not be anymore a NAB in a Member State or candidate country to the EU.
EA members have expressed the importance of having UKAS as member, even after UK left the EU. Accordingly, the EA has revised its Articles of Associations and introduced the transition period, which allows UKAS to maintain its membership until 31 January 2022.
During this transition period, EA is analysing with UKAS and the European Commission results of negotiations between the EU and the UK. The objective is to consider options for EA membership criteria to be introduced in the EA Articles of Associations with the aim that UKAS remains an EA member.
The General Assembly agreed to hold an extraordinary meeting in early 2021 and to continue with the discussions on UKAS’ membership status. The final decision on UKAS status in EA shall be made in Summer 2021.
The Eurpoean Comission declared to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. To achieve this, the European Commission presented the European Green Deal, the most ambitious package of measures that should enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from sustainable green transition.
Can EA contribute to the Green Deal in practice and what could be the measures by EA for reducing its carbon footprint.
The Executive Committee prepared a discussion paper on EA travels in relation to Climate Change.
The objective of the proposed measures is to support Green Deal by:
• Reducing the number of Working Group and Task Force Group face-to-face meetings and
• Having every Committee/Council meetings in central Europe or by remote means
EL MLA MARK
EA decided, following the plan set up in the EA Strategy 2025, to establish an EMA MLA as a tool to differentiate the accreditation and the corresponding conformity assessment results covered by EA multilateral agreement of recognition (EA MLA).
The GA agreed to register the mark as a collective mark of the EU in a first stage, and then to extend registration at the international level based on the Madrid agreement.
As part of the registration process, a set of rules for use of the MLA Mark must be submitted to the Registration authorities. EA Horizontal Harmonization Committe (HHC) developed EA-3/01: EA Conditions for the use of Accreditation Symbols, Logos and other claims and reference to the EA MLA signatory status, Supplement 1, Rules for use of EA MLA mark which was approved by the General Assembly in November 2020.
Signatory National Accreditation Bodies (NABs) will be entitled to use the MLA mark in combination with their logo, and Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) accredited by a signatory NAB will have the right to use the MLA mark in combination with the NAB accreditation symbol.
The basic principle is that the mark can only be used in the country where it has been properly registered. It means that the mark will be registered (at least) in all countries of the EA MLA/BLA signatories.
The registration process just started formally and is currently ongoing.
It was confirmed that the next 2021 General Assembly will be held remotely on 20-21 May, 2021.
Sincerely, Your ATS