ECJ classifies accreditations from third countries as unlawful
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has provided legal clarity for the activities of accreditation bodies from so-called third countries in European countries. With its ruling of 6 May 2021, the ECJ classifies this accreditation activity as unlawful and prohibits it in Europe as a matter of principle. Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle (DAkkS) welcomes the decision of the court.
Specifically, the provisions of the ECJ’s judgment prohibit all conformity assessment bodies established in the European Union or the European Economic Area who wish to obtain accreditation from submitting an application “to a national accreditation body other than that of the Member State in which it is established”. According to the ECJ, “nor do those provisions allow a conformity assessment body to obtain accreditation from a body established in a third State for the purpose of carrying out its activity in the European Union.”
Exceptions are permitted only within the narrow provisions of Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008. Accreditations from third countries in Europe therefore violate mandatory Union law and are unlawful. The judgment in Case C-142/20 (Analisi G. Caracciolo ./. Accredia, ECLI:EU:C:2021:368) can be found at the following link:
DAkkS welcomes ECJ decision
“With this judgment, the ECJ strengthens the European accreditation system on the basis of the EU regulation. This is good news and now provides legal clarity in many disputed areas”, says DAkkS Chief Executive Officer Stephan Finke, commenting on the court’s decision.
In terms of uniform and harmonised implementation by the accreditation bodies of the EU, this decision of the ECJ gives rise to a number of detailed questions with respect to enforcement and a common understanding of the judgement, in particular concerning the transition periods for the validity of conformity assessment results based on such accreditations for bodies established in the EU.
“DAkkS will be looking into these issues in the near future, in close consultation with the other national accreditation bodies in Europe and with the European accreditation organisation EA,” says Finke.
DAkkS advises conformity assessment bodies which currently hold accreditation exclusively or additionally from private accreditation bodies from third countries to get in touch without delay. This will ensure a coordinated transfer by mutual agreement of these cases of accreditation to DAkkS.