Accreditation is the last level of public control in the European conformity assessment system. It is designed to ensure that conformity assessment bodies (e.g. laboratories, inspection or certification bodies) have the technical capacity to perform their duties. Used in regulated sectors and voluntary areas, accreditation increases trust in conformity assessment. It reinforces the mutual recognition of products, services, systems, and bodies across 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:
National accreditation bodies are members of the European co-operation for accreditation (EA) that cooperates with the Commission. EA's tasks include:
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.