As one of the original accreditation bodies that founded the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) back in the late nineties, UKAS has continued to support the values and cooperation of accreditation across Europe. Established as a not-for-profit association, the EA was formally appointed by the European Commission in Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 to develop and maintain a multilateral agreement of mutual recognition, the EA MLA, based on a harmonized accreditation infrastructure. As a signatory to this MLA, the reports and certificates of UKAS accredited bodies are recognised across Europe and around the world.
The UK’s decision to leave the EU had an unexpected consequence on UKAS membership as the EA Articles of Association stated that members must be either a member, or candidate country, of the EU or EFTA. Upon leaving the EU at the end of January 2020 UKAS no longer met this criteria. However, there was a strong desire by both parties for UKAS to remain an active member of EA, which led to the revision of the AoA to allow for a 2-year transition period between a member no longer meeting the criteria and their membership being withdrawn.
At the EA General Assembly on 14th May a Resolution (EA Resolution 2020 (45) 01) was passed, implementing Article 6 paragraph 7 of the AoA and endorsing that UKAS shall remain an EA Full Member until 31 January 2022. With this transition period now confirmed, both UKAS and EA will work together to determine UKAS’s long-term future as an EA member taking into consideration the outcome of the UK-EU trade negotiations. It is a shared goal that an agreement can be reached where changes to the AoA will enable UKAS to continue as an active EA member for many years to come.
The General Secretary of EA, Dr Andreas Steinhorst, said after the GA meeting “UKAS is an important member of EA and we are keen for this to continue. I am therefore delighted that the GA passed the Resolution to implement the 2-year transition period and hope that during this period we can reach a mutually beneficial agreement that will cement UKAS’s place within EA for the future.”