How does accreditation work?
- the national accreditation body and each category of conformity assessment body (such as laboratories or certification bodies)
- sector-specific requirements
- guidance drawn up by regional and international organisations of accreditation bodies
Organisation of accreditation in the EU
Requirements for accreditation are set in Regulation 765/2008. The Regulation promotes a uniformly rigorous approach to accreditation across EU countries. This consensus is normally reflected in a CERTIF document on a specific topic. As a result, an accreditation certificate is enough to demonstrate the technical capacity of a conformity assessment body.
The main principles of accreditation are:
- 1 accreditation body per EU country (it is possible, however, to use another country’s national accreditation body). In Spain this accreditation body is ENAC.
- accreditation is a public sector activity and a not-for-profit activity
- there is no competition between national accreditation bodies
- stakeholders are represented
- accreditation is the preferred means of demonstrating technical capacity of notified bodies in the regulated area
The European accreditation infrastructure
National accreditation bodies are members of the European co-operation for accreditation (EA) that cooperates with the Commission. EA’s tasks include:
- setting up and managing a peer evaluation system of national accreditation bodies
- providing technical assistance to the Commission in accreditation
To provide a framework for cooperation:
- in 2009, the Commission, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), EU countries and EA signed general cooperation guidelines to mark their political commitment to working together
- in 2014, the Commission and EA signed a framework partnership agreement (3 MB) for the period 2014-2017. This framework partnership agreement allows financial support for EA in fulfilling its tasks under the Regulation and meeting the objectives set out in the guidelines
Report on the implementation of the Regulation for accreditation and market surveillance
The report gives an overview of how the accreditation provisions of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 and CE marking were implemented between 2013 and 2017. It confirms that the accreditation infrastructure created by the Regulation has provided added value, not only for the Single Market but also for international trade. The Regulation has established a trustworthy and stable accreditation system that has wide support from industry and the conformity assessment community. It ensures that products meet the applicable requirements, removes barriers for conformity assessment bodies and helps entrepreneurial activities to flourish in Europe.