Published on: 29/11/2016
Highlights of the 38th EA General Assembly
Significant achievements were made at the last EA General Assembly held on 23 and 24 November 2016 in Borås, Sweden, where accreditation was emphasized as an increasing need in future.
Picture: participants in the Borås EA GA gathered together for the traditional group photo.
The Autumn EA General Assembly (GA), hosted by SWEDAC, the Swedish national accreditation body (NAB), gathered representatives from 36 member-countries accreditation bodies, associated members, stakeholders and other interested parties.
The meeting, focusing on quality and accreditation, began with a welcome speech from Peter Strömbäck, the SWEDAC Director General, with a look back to the last EA meeting in May 2016. Since then, there have been a number of changes in the world – the UK Brexit and the US presidential election, leading to an uncertain future. “The need for us and our business will increase, the need for trust and comfort in everyday life. We are an important part of building a bright future”, said Peter Strömbäck.
Oscar Stenström, Foreign Ministry Secretary of State, welcomed the participants in Sweden. “Accreditation and standardization are extremely important in our modern society”, said Oscar Stenström, “and raise a number of prospects”. The European single market, free trade agreements and accreditation of markets in developing countries were those three aspects whose main development points were traced by Oscar Stenström.
This was the last EAGA meeting attended by Geir Samuelsen as the EA Vice-Chair. EA thanked the Director General of Norwegian Accreditation (NA) for his great contribution to making the association’s issues progress since 2014. The call for nominations of the new EA Chair and Vice-Chair, to be elected at the next EA GA in May 2017, should be launched among EA Members by end of the year.
A great number of resolutions have been adopted in Borås, the most outstanding of which are listed below.
The EA General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the Executive Committee that ARMNAB, the national accreditation body of Armenia, becomes an Associate Member of EA with effect from 24 November 2016. On behalf of Nune Mkrtchyan, the ARMNAB Director General, Mrs. Nazik Abgaryan, signed the EA Associate Membership agreement. This new associate member makes EA gather now 13 Associate Members.
Regarding EA documents, the General Assembly approved EA-1/17 S5: Levying of Membership Fees as revised by the Executive Committee, as well as the revised terms of reference of the MLA Council and the Horizontal Harmonisation Committee. All of three documents should be republished on the EA website.
Acting upon recommendation from the Certification or Laboratory Committee, three new work items have been agreed by the General Assembly to:
- revise EA-6/04: EA Guidelines on the Accreditation of Certification of Primary Sector Products by Means of Sampling of Sites;
- to review/revise EA-2/14: Procedure for Regional Calibration ILCs in Support of the EA MLA;
- to elaborate an Informative Document on Joint EA - EDQM Communication regarding cooperation when carrying out joint audits/assessments in Official Medicines Control Laboratories.
The General Assembly has welcomed the International Accreditation Forum’s (IAF) move to develop a new approach to accreditation sub-scopes under the Multilateral Agreement (MLA), with a simplified process closer to EA's own practices and principles.
Last but not least, the EA Strategy 2025 setting the path for EA’s development over the coming decade, which had been presented at the GA in May, has been adopted by the General Assembly which congratulated the Strategy Project Group and the Project Manager, Peter Strömbäck from SWEDAC, for the excellent work achieved. The Strategy outlines EA’s course “from good to great” to achieve its vision and a desired position. Three strategic objectives that translate the Strategy and set out the plan to achieve the vision are:
- Good governance to deliver consistent and sustainable results.
- Close cooperation with regulators and stakeholders to strengthen accreditation at the European and international level.
- Continue to develop accreditation to support innovation and growth in existing and new areas.
The final implementation plan of the Strategy will be submitted to the next General Assembly in May 2017.
Oscar Stenström concluded the EAGA meeting by thanking the member countries for their excellent work quality in Europe. “You are creating a very important platform for our business and our consumers. Thanks so much.”