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Anniversary: Ten years of regional cooperation in the Western Balkans

We have a reason to celebrate: In May 2016, PTB successfully completed a regional project with the metrology institutes and accreditation bodies of the Western Balkans. The institutes are located in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Motivation and starting point for the regional cooperation was the low level of development and the lack of regional synergies. In addition, there was a lack of international recognition of the services provided by the young institutions in the region.

In our cooperation, the accreditation bodies were prepared to establish new demand-oriented accreditation schemes in a demand-oriented manner. The accreditation rules result from the EU rapprochement process. Technical rules of the EU as well as the use of accreditation for the purpose of notification are adopted. In addition, the schemes are based on the regular revision of international standards for conformity assessments. Due to a limited number of experts available in the region for the various disciplines of product safety and quality, a joint expert pool was created. In order to share the expertise across borders, a long-standing mutual trust and personal relationship was required. For the project and its consultants, regional networking was a key factor.

The metrology institutes in the region were encouraged to apply the »best practices« in the area of legal metrology in the EU, to offer demand-oriented calibration services for the domestic industry and to promote their international recognition. Some of the institutes even benefitted from EU funding.

As a partner for capacity building, the specialised institutions of the neighbouring countries Greece, Croatia and Turkey were particularly enthusiastic. These locations have many similarities to the institutions of the target region. Usually they are much more aware of the implementation of the EU acquis in the field of free movement of goods than, for example, German institutions.

The successful completion of the project was celebrated in May 2016 in Berlin as part of a last joint meeting of the accreditation authorities of the regions.