“It is a strange feeling to say goodbye to partners during a video conference after 10 years of cooperation,” says Stefan Wallerath, project coordinator for cooperation with the countries of South-East Europe. PTB’s involvement with the region, which was marked by the conflicts of the 1990s, began back in 2006. Serbia, as the largest economy in the Western Balkans and with its QI institutions that draw on a great deal of experience and history, was the technical backbone and driving force of regional cooperation from the very beginning.
Since 2011, PTB has been working bilaterally with the Quality and Product Safety Unit of the Serbian Ministry of Economy and the subordinate institutions for metrology, standardisation and accreditation. As a candidate country for accession to the European Union, Serbia is pursuing the goal of adopting the entirety of the valid EU law (acquis communautaire of the EU).
A functioning and internationally recognised quality infrastructure is indispensable for the fulfilment of negotiation chapter 1: “free movement of goods”. The measures of the project were thus aimed at the technical and political requirements of this negotiation chapter. For example, we supported the development and implementation of a National QI Strategy, accompanied the designation of measurement competences to additional institutes besides the National Metrology Institute, contributed to the international recognition of new calibration services and accreditation schemes, and established a digital document management system in the National Standards Institute ISS.
Thus, the National Metrology Institute DMDM and the Designated Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences have numerous internationally recognised measurement capabilities (CMCs in BIPM KCDB) and the national accreditation body ATS has a broad portfolio of recognised accreditation schemes and accredited conformity assessment bodies. Unfortunately, the Serbian partners have not been rewarded for their work at the political level to date, as the negotiations on Chapter 1 have not been opened by the EU Commission since the screening in 2014.
Stefan Wallerath is nevertheless confident that the Serbian QI partners are well positioned for the future due to their comprehensive anchoring and cooperation in the European professional networks. The nice opportunity of a personal and heartfelt farewell to the partners on the ground in Belgrade finally came at the end of the project.
ATS: Accreditation Body of Serbia
BIPM: International Bureau of Weights and Measures | Bureau international des poids et mesures
CMC: Internationally recognized Calibration and Measurement Capabilities
DMDM: Direkcija za mere i dragocene metale | Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals
ISS: Institute for Standardization
KCDB: Key Comparison Database
Image: © Predrag Mladenović, predragm.com