The Accreditation Body of Serbia (ATS) is a signatory to the Multilateral Agreement (MLA) of the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA).
The agreement was signed on 24th May 2012 at the 29th meeting of the EA General Assembly (EA GA) in Madrid. Dejan Krnjaić PhD, ATS Director, signed the agreement on behalf of the ATS and the Republic of Serbia, while Thomas Facklam, Chair of the EA Multilateral Agreement Council (EA MLA), signed the agreement on behalf of the EA. Since the EU candidate country status had been obtained, the ATS changed, at the same EA GA meeting and in accordance with the EA documents, its membership status in the EA and was granted EA full membership status that replaced the existing one, and accordingly the decision made on 18th April to sign EA BLA was replaced with the decision to sign EA MLA.
After a very rigorous three-year evaluation process the ATS was assessed by the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) as a competent and reliable partner, and with that end in view a decision was made during the MAC (Multilateral Agreement Council) meeting held on 18th and 19th April to sign the bilateral agreement (BLA) between the ATS and EA on the basis of the report produced after the ATS had been peer evaluated in case of the following fields of accreditation: testing laboratories, medical laboratories, calibration laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies operating certification of products.
During the last three years the ATS carried out, thanks to the enormous support of the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, a series of mutual activities that led to the signing of the said agreement - from the adoption of the new Law on Accreditation to the upgrade of the accreditation procedure through the adoption of the new issues and revisions of the management system documents in order to put in place a regulated system, efficient and swift procedures facilitating the operation of the ATS and accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs).
This actually means that mutual trust and acceptance of reports and certificates issued by Serbian accredited CABs (testing laboratories, medical laboratories, calibration laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies performing certification of products) will be achieved and that the Serbian accreditation system will be made equivalent to those of other countries signatories to EA BLA/MLA.
Serbian economy will thus be able to enter not only the EU market, but world market as well when it comes to products and services tested, controlled and certified by our accredited CABs, whereby trust in quality and safety of Serbian products and services will be ensured. Furthermore, the Serbian economy will be given extremely important technical support to attain competiveness on the European market. Acceptance of the conformity assessment results performed in Serbia will be ensured through networking of the Serbian accreditation system to those of the EU and world.
BLAs and MLAs (producing different EA membership statuses) enable measurable economical effects which imply removal of barriers to trade and enabling of free movement of people, products and services across EU and world borders. Accreditation brings trust in services of accredited laboratories, certification and inspection bodies given that this trust provides an international “passport for trade” for products, people and services due to international recognition of BLAs/MLAs by international organisations for accreditation – International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
In the period between 27th June and 1st July 2011 the ATS was peer evaluated by the EA team that had a task to check whether the Serbian accreditation system had been harmonised with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17011, relevant requirements of the EU Regulation (EC 768/2008), and guides and guidelines of international organisations for accreditation. The EA team confirmed the existence of a legal basis necessary for the operation of the Accreditation Body, adequate ATS procedures that were being constantly upgraded, dedicated administrative staffs and lead assessors, and competent technical assessors and experts.
Thomas Facklam and Dejan Krnjaić, PhD