Round table on the subject of "Metrology, standards, testing and quality"

Current events

On Monday 24th September 2012, the World Bank organised a roundtable discussion at the premises of the Ministry of Finance and Economy on the subject of "Metrology, standards, testing and quality" as part of the EU funded "Serbia Innovation Project".

The roundtable discussion was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MFE), Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, Accreditation Body of Serbia (ATS), Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals (DMDM), and Institute for Standardization of Serbia (ISS), and by the representatives of accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs).

In February 2012 dr Huseyin Ugur, World Bank expert, visited all QI institutions in the Republic of Serbia to analyse the situation in this field and make recommendations for further development of the said institutions. His first impression was that all QI institutions in the Republic of Serbia were highly developed and that they could become leaders in the Western Balkans.

At the start of his lecture, dr Ugur emphasised the importance of upgrading the legislation governing business activities and establishment of companies and bankruptcy given that these issues provided a basis for good business practice in every country. Furthermore, he emphasised that every country had to allocate significant resources to fulfil the requirements of Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This agreement implies use of standards and performance of conformity assessment. The Republic of Serbia successfully fulfilled the TBT requirements and it is preparing for WTO membership.

Dr Ugur made recommendations to all QI institutions in order to keep up with their colleagues from developed countries. Improvement made in this field is satisfactory, but due to limited resources (human and financial) the pace is not expected. Furthermore, there is a need for better coordination of different activities, harmonisation of procedures and increase in the level of the system's efficiency. Since the level of development of the Serbian economy is not satisfactory, dr Ugur recommended that the Ministry of Finance and Economy should coordinate all activities carried out in this field. Moreover, there is a need for central market control so that the QI institutions would know how to invest. Therefore, Jelena Popović MSc, MFE Assistant Minister (Sector for Quality Infrastructure) emphasised that the biggest problem of MFE related to the absence of legal obligation for other ministries to transpose, at the request of MFE, EU directives into our legislation within their area of competence. Although market surveillance is not within the area of MFE competence, MFE has excellent cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Services. Capacities of the Ministry of Trade and Services are not sufficient and hence training will be delivered to market inspectors. This will require assistance of the EU that allocated 2.5 million Euros for this project.

First of all the National Metrology Institute of the Republic of Serbia, i.e. the Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals (DMPM) has to become independent. Additionally, it is necessary to have the regulations governing the scope of DMDM activities at the same level as those of the ATS and the ISS. Furthermore, the importance of the DMDM role should increase so that DMDM could become a body responsible for coordination in case of all three bodies in terms of provision of necessary information. What the DMDM can do right now is to get more involved in the work of the CIPM committees and to participate in the EURACHEM activities (European organization for measurements in analytical chemistry). He also recommended the upgrade of a performance monitoring system of all DMDM organisational units and employees. However, dr Ugur emphasised that the DMDM has capacities to become the leading metrology institute in the Western Balkans.

When it comes to the operation ISS it must be emphasised that it needs to be organised in such a way as to receive less money from the state, but due to the economic crisis the problem still remains. The Law on Standardization prescribes that the European and international standards will be translated into Serbian, whereby their adoption will be facilitated. Therefore ISS should translate as many standards as possible in order to simplify the standards implementation procedure.

According to dr Ugur, ATS made a giant step forward in terms of its development and thus became one of the leading accreditation bodies in the region. However, ATS should develop a scheme for the accreditation of persons and to improve management system accreditation.

The Serbian government should give QI institutions more independence and hence enable creation of a larger market for the said institutions that would become more financially sustainable. The capacities and competence of the Sector for Quality Infrastructure, MFE, should be used much more. It is also necessary to organise awareness raising campaigns to inform the Serbian public about the mode of operation and importance of the quality infrastructure.

Jelena Popović concluded that an analysis of the QI institutions would be carried out by means of the Quality Infrastructure Strategy. Furthermore, DMDM capacity building should be carried out so that DMDM could become an independent institution like ATS and ISS. Additionally, significant efforts have been made to organise awareness raising campaigns, but these have to be organised more often. Thus five brochures have been produced for industry to explain the mechanism for the transposition of the EU directives into our legislation.

dr Husein Ugur with his WB colleagues