New Legislative Framework

A new approach to Europe

The New Legislative Framework (NLF) includes a package of measures already adopted by the European Council on July 9, 2008. The package of measures in a modernization drive that aims to strengthen the internal market for goods based on the existing system.

Part of the objective mentioned above is the following:

  • Improving enforcement
  • Improving the quality of conformity assessment
  • Clarify and reinforce the meaning of the CE marking
  • Providing a framework that can serve as a template for future regulations

The NLF is set out in three documents:

To be adjusted Guidelines

  • Low Voltage Directive
  • EMC Directive
  • ATEX Directive (equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres)
  • Directive Passengerlifts
  • Directive to simple pressure vessels
  • Measuring Instruments Directive
  • Non-automatic weighing instruments
  • Directive explosives for civil uses
  • Pyrotechnic Articles Directive

Consequences for accreditation

The NLF also has consequences for accreditation. For the first time accreditation has been implemented in the legal framework within Europe. The European Parliament wants to support accreditation, as a system for voluntary (self-certification) and mandatory (type approval) conformity assessments.

Accreditation, performed under recognized standards, has become a public task. Each Member State can only have one Accrediting Authority. The government must designate them. In the Netherlands this is the Accreditation Council (RvA) and in Belgium BELAC. Therefore, the Accreditation Council became an independent administrative body (IAB) and BELAC became a secretariat under FPS Economy SME.

These and other national accreditation bodies have set conditions from which the most important are:

  • Independency from the institutions they accredit
  • Objectivity and independence
  • Having competent employees for the tasks they perform
  • Not having a profit organization
  • Not to provide services that compete with the institutions they accredit
  • Not to compete with other national accreditation bodies

In addition, the European Accreditation (EA) has been assigned as the coordinating organization. All national bodies must be members of EA and participate in the peer review program. That way, it is assured that all national authorities act in accordance with the legal requirements.