This regional programme is a follow-up of previous projects already managed by CEN and its members in the Western Balkans and Turkey (CARDS 2002, CARDS 2006, IPA 2008). The project started in August 2011 and ended in June 2014. It was funded by the European Commission and EFTA.
The project aimed to facilitate the harmonization of the legislative framework and its implementing mechanisms in the field of free movement of goods (Chapter 1 of the EUAcquis).
More precisely, through regional networking initiatives and training, the project aimed at improving the capabilities of ministries, quality infrastructure bodies and other institutions, which are implementing strategies to comply with Chapter 1 of the EU acquis, enabling them to offer industry services to provide the tools to trade in the EU market, as well as in the markets of the beneficiaries.
Another objective was to improve the confidence in products tested in beneficiary countries' laboratories, whose performance were benchmarked with each other and with EU counterparts, through regional proficiency testing schemes. Ultimately, it contributed to the removal of technical barriers to trade between beneficiaries and the EU.
Between 2011 and 2014, 9 meetings of the Co-operation Committee, 21 hands-on training courses, 9 networking events, 11 proficiency testing schemes and 6 meetings of the CEFTA Working Group on TBTs were completed.
A total of 442 officials participated in the hands-on training courses, which took place in expert institutions in seven EU member states (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom); 139 project-funded officials participated in the networking events; and 55 laboratories participated in the proficiency testing schemes.
The project has delivered significant benefits to all beneficiaries:
- By improving quality infrastructure, the project has contributed to higher quality and safer products;
- Increased trust between quality infrastructure institutions is a pre-condition for mutual recognition and, in turn, enhances trade opportunities, which will have a significant impact on business opportunities;
- A new tool – the Progress Report template – was developed by the project, with support from DG Enterprise and Industry. These progress reports and previous assessments have enabled ministries and quality infrastructure bodies to benchmark their performance with their peers in neighbouring countries. This may be useful for prioritising and sequencing national action plans;
- Hands-on training in specialised quality infrastructure fields has enabled key officials from ministries and quality infrastructure bodies to learn in a highly practical manner about the latest developments in EU technical legislation and best practice in quality infrastructure fields, which has led to improved skills for the implementation of Chapter 1 the EU Acquis and a consequent increase in the number of directives/regulations transposed and increasingly implemented;
- Proficiency testing, as one of the main enabling mechanisms for further mutual recognition agreements, has permitted laboratories from throughout the region to benchmark the accuracy of their testing and calibration services with those of their peers in the region and in the EU and to improve their business planning;
- The horizontal networking component has enabled officials from ministries and quality infrastructure bodies to share best practice and learn from each other how best to manage their quality infrastructure systems, thereby increasing trust which is a precondition for cross-border trade;
- Although commercial organisations are not direct beneficiaries of the project, they have benefited from improved services and access to information and advice from ministries and quality infrastructure bodies through their official websites, enabling them to better prepare themselves to compete on the EU’s Internal Market and those of their neighbouring countries.
CEN and CENELEC contact person: Mr Eric MARCHAND, Project Manager - Market Perspective and Innovation.