ANEC-AccessibleEU webinar

Join our ANEC/AccessibleEU webinar on 3 April 2024 from 11h30 to 13h00 (CEST) on the key standardisation works related to accessibility, and on the role ANEC and AccessibleEU play in shaping accessible standards!

It is a basic consumer right to have access to products and services. The European Accessibility Act (Directive 2019/882) is a landmark EU law which requires several consumer products and services to be accessible for persons with disabilities. As of 28 June 2025, companies must ensure that the newly marketed products and services covered by the Act are accessible.

Harmonised Standards have to be drafted on access to public transport, banking services, computers, TVs, e-books, online shops, and much more.

ANEC, together with the AccessibleEU, one of the flagship initiatives of the European Commission Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030, is organising a webinar to present the state of play of the current standardisation activities and discuss how consumers and persons with disabilities can make accessible products and services with standards.

This free workshop and mutual learning session will be in English with captioning in English and international sign system (ISS).

To register for the webinar, please go to





Please note in our previous Newsletter (2024 edition 1), in the article ”CENELEC work item on medical treatment tables”, we unintentionally reported that there has been a European standard for these products. However the sentence should have read, “There has been no European standard for these products.” We apologise for the mistake (which was corrected immediately in the online version of the newsletter).

Lead story

ECJ decision on harmonised standards for toy safety

ANEC welcomes the judgement of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) deciding consumers and citizens must have free access to harmonised standards, hence reinforcing its earlier pronouncement (in the "James Elliott" ruling) that harmonised standards form part of EU law. Whether this means a free remote viewing of the standards themselves will be sufficient, as ANEC advocates, or requires the standards themselves to be given away freely, will be for the lawyers to interpret. We agree with other stakeholders that this interpretation will be fundamental to the sustainability of the European Standardisation System.


The ruling of the European Court of Justice about the free availability of standards released on 5 March 2024 (Case C-588/21 P) can be found at


Letta Report on future of the Single Market

On 22 February, Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) discussed with Mr Enrico Letta, former Italian Prime Minister and President of the Jacques Delors Institute, the main findings and preliminary recommendations to be included in his High-Level Report on the future of the Single Market. The Report is to be presented to the Council later this spring.

The main stakeholders were invited to take part in the discussion and to participate in a panel for an exchange of views. Tania Vandenberghe represented ANEC.


Tania highlighted that the Single Market, underpinned by standards, has increased choice for consumers and made products safer, more accessible and energy efficient. But in an evolving environment, we need to ensure greater inclusiveness of all stakeholders in the drafting process, and improved access to data to draft better and more relevant standards (e.g. by drawing on a European accident & injuries database). We stressed inclusiveness is a core value of the Standardisation Regulation, and we welcome the political and financial aid it gives to ANEC.

In light of the challenges posed by international trade to the Single Market, Tania underlined we believe more should be done for effective consumer participation in international standardisation.

Moreover, the Single Market of the future should take into account the geopolitics at the international level, with standards supporting the Single Market needing to reflect European values, especially in the digital area.

ANEC gives lecture at THUAS

In our pursuit of promoting education and skills in standardisation, ANEC continues to take steps toward helping build a more informed and empowered generation. On 16 February, ANEC Deputy Director-General, Chiara Giovannini, gave a lecture at The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) on the intricacies of "Standardisation and Legislation – what goes on behind the curtains!" (


The lecture was tailored for students specialising in the EU Business Regulation Course. It provided insight into the symbiotic relationship between the standardisation process and legislative frameworks, shedding light on the often-overlooked aspects that influence decision-making in these spheres.

The initiative stands as a tangible deliverable in ANEC's commitment to fulfilling the Pledge of the EC High-Level Forum on Standardisation (HLFS) which aims to foster education and skills on standardisation. Furthermore, it reflects the collaboration established through ANEC's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with THUAS, specifically linked to the university's International and European Law Programme (

EU SafetyGate Report 2023

On 14 March 2024, the SafetyGate (ex-RAPEX) annual report for 2023 was presented during an event with European Commissioner Didier Reynders.

In 2023, the total number of notifications was 3. 412, leading to 4.287 follow-up actions. Cosmetics (32%), “Other product categories” (24%), Toys (13%), Motor vehicles (12%), Electrical appliances & equipment (10%), and Clothing textile & fashion items (8%) were the most notified product categories across the EU in 2023.


ANEC Director-General, Stephen Russell, commented on the report: “ANEC is happy to hear that Safety Gate figures in 2023 show a notable increase in national authorities’ activity and more diversified monitoring. Unlike in 2022, in 2023 the ‘toys’ category is not the product category with most alerts, but rather second in Safety Gate, showing the value of the actions taken by the authorities and industry against unscrupulous manufacturers and importers of toys”.

ANEC Senior Programme Manager, Tania Vandenberghe, also commented: “However, ANEC is still concerned about children’s exposure to chemicals in toys – e.g. the RAPEX report shows that plastic dolls and other toys contain plastic softening phthalates; as well as injuries and choking related to toys. ANEC welcomes the EC proposal for a Toy Safety Regulation to phase out hormone-disrupting chemicals from toys. If this becomes law, it would be the first time ever – worldwide – that both known and suspected hormone-disrupting chemicals are banned from an entire product group”.

Link to Safety Gate Annual Report and factsheet:

Towards inclusive and safe consumer products

On 8 March, ANEC hosted the webinar, "Safe products for all consumers – EC study on gender-responsive and inclusive standards".

Frauke Hoss, from EC DG GROW.H2, led the presentation, providing valuable insights into the recently-published EU Study on inclusiveness of anthropometrics in European harmonised standards. Moderated by ANEC’s Chiara Giovannini, the webinar highlighted the essential findings of the study which analysed the extent to which current Harmonised Standards accommodate the diversity of the European population's anthropometric dimensions.


The evidence pointed towards a significant need for standards to evolve, ensuring they are based in recent, representative data of the EU population. This approach is crucial not only for the design of products, but also for their testing phases, impacting the safety and health outcomes for consumers across Europe.

We must thank Frauke Hoss for her insightful presentation.

Child Safety

EP vote on the proposal for a Toy Safety Regulation

On 13 March, the European Parliament (EP) voted in plenary on its position regarding the proposal from the European Commission for a Toy Safety Regulation (TSR). As highlighted in the EP press release (, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) expressed support for better protection of children.

The new legislation is essential in improving the protection of children as an especially-vulnerable group of consumers. Together with BEUC, the mainstream European consumer organisation, ANEC welcomes the many positive elements of the EP position.


These include:

  • safeguards against harmful chemicals being greatly strengthened by banning endocrine disrupting bisphenols, chemicals that can cause allergies in children and PFAS. The EP also decided to lower the limits for nitrosamines.
  • reference to the Precautionary Principle to be included in the legal text, beyond the recitals
  • more specific criteria to be established for warnings
  • consumer access to the Digital Product Passport to be straightforward
  • mental health to be considered for the safety assessment of connected toys
  • noise limits to be established for toys intended to emit sound.

We encourage the European Council to keep these ambitions under its Belgian Presidency.

Child Safety/Domestic Appliances

Check your batteries day 2024

On the occasion of “Check your batteries day” on 10 March, ANEC stressed the importance of checking the home environment to make sure no button batteries are accessible to children. Even ‘dead’ batteries can cause serious (even fatal) internal damage when swallowed by a child. We shared the info through a visual on social media.


ANEC continues to monitor standards to ensure children’s access to batteries is made as difficult as possible, not only when the battery is in the product but also its packaging.


EP on Green Claims Directive

A plenary vote of the European Parliament on 12 March on the proposal for a Green Claims Directive ( confirmed the improvements made to the report by the ENVI and IMCO committees on 14 February. The plenary supported changes in line with the proposals we made arising from our position paper on reliable environmental claims ( shared with the EP Rapporteurs and co-Rapporteurs.


These include:

Ex-ante verification: according to the EP text, companies are to submit their environmental claims for approval before using them; accredited verifiers would need to assess the claims within 30 days.

Climate offsetting: MEPs propose to ban claims on climate neutrality except for the residual emissions. The latter can be credited through the upcoming carbon removals certification framework (CRCF) or, in “duly justified cases”, as part of a list of “compliant schemes”.

Products containing hazardous substances: MEPs have requested a report from the EC - 18 months after the entry into force of the Directive – listing products making green claims while containing hazardous substances, with a view to proposing prohibitions or restrictions on such claims.

Governance: the EP report supports creation of a Green Claims Consultation Forum involving relevant stakeholders, including consumer organisations.

Product Environmental Footprint method: the use of PEF method is limited to sectors where it can address all relevant environmental aspects.

The file will now need to be followed by the new Parliament after the European elections in June. Member States are also expected to agree on a Council position on the file by June.

This legislative text is complementary to the Directive on Empowering Consumers in the Green Transition, adopted by the Parliament and Council ( in February and which will be soon be published in the Official Journal.

Final steps towards the PPWR

ANEC welcomed the provisional agreement of the Council and Parliament on the proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) reached on 4 March. This agreement was reviewed and endorsed by the Environmental COREPER on 15 March under guidance of the Belgian presidency. The EP is to vote in plenary on 24 April, and the Council is to give its formal approval after raising reservations about “unintentional trade impacts” of excluding imported plastic waste from EU recycling targets.


Especially positive outcomes for consumers are:

✅ Introduction of restrictions on the placing on the market of food contact packaging containing PFAS (Per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances) above certain thresholds.

✅ Measures to reduce overpackaging, with a maximum empty-space ratio of 50% in transport and ecommerce packaging.

✅ New binding reuse targets for 2030 (to be reassessed in view of 2040 targets); these address also alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (at least 10%, except e.g. milk, wine, aromatised wine, spirits).

✅ Obligations by 2030 for take-aways to offer 10% of their products in packaging suitable for re-use.

✅ Beverage and take-away food distributors would be obliged to offer consumers the option of bringing their own container for refill.

✅ By 2029, Member States are required to set up deposit return systems (DRSs) for single-use plastic bottles and metal beverage containers, so to ensure the separate collection of at least 90% per annum of those packaging formats.

✅ As of 2030, restrictions on single use plastic plastics packaging for fruit and vegetables, for food and beverages, condiments, sauces within the HORECA sector, for small cosmetic and toiletry products used in the accommodation sector, and for very lightweight plastic bags.

✅ Member States are required to incentivise HORECA and canteens to serve tap water.

Some compromises were however made, and we count the ambition of these requirements is not jeopardised by exemptions introduced, e.g.:

📌 Exemption of cardboard from re-use targets

📌 Derogations from re-use targets for member states renewable after 5 years and for micro-enterprises under certain conditions

📌 Focus on plastic packaging may lead to increased use and waste generation from other materials for which we need to avoid potential risks for 📌consumers’ health.

Read more in the ANEC position on PPWR ( and joint papers about the benefits of packaging reuse (, and Extended Producer Responsibility ( We particularly thank the experts in the ANEC Sustainability WG for their support on this important file.

Greening the buildings sector: EPBD recast

On 13 March, the EP adopted ( the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) ( A central pillar of the European Green Deal and “Fit for 55” package, the EPBD sets out the plan for gradual decarbonisation of the building sector while bringing benefits to consumers. For the Directive to become law, Member States must now adopt the text at the Energy Council meeting in April 2024.


According to the EC, buildings in the EU are responsible for 40% of our energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Thanks to the EPBD, here are highlights of what we can expect by 2030:

  • New buildings must be zero-emission from 2030, those occupied or owned by public authorities will do so as of 2028
  • For residential buildings, at least 16% energy reduction should be achieved
  • Member States will have to renovate 16% of worst-performing non-residential buildings
  • Member States will need to outline measures to decarbonise heating systems, aiming to phase out fossil fuels in heating and cooling by 2040. Subsidising stand-alone fossil fuel boilers will be prohibited from 2025.

As part of the EPBD, Member States will need to review their Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) schemes, an essential tool to assess the energy performance of buildings and guide renovations. EPCs are also essential for consumers to get information when renting or buying regarding the energy efficiency of the building.

ANEC is part of the EU-funded project SmartLivingEPC ( focused on how to improve the methodology of EPCs and to evaluate additional parameters important for consumers, such as water consumption or noise pollution. We shall keep monitoring the EPBD alongside project partners to deliver our views and project outcomes to the European Commission.


Fire safety addressed in EPBD text

In line with the #KeepEUFireSafe Manifesto, which ANEC co-signed with several stakeholders, the text of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) recast also includes important provisions to ensure that measures to improve the energy performance of buildings further should not affect other requirements concerning buildings such as fire safety. Nor should they affect accessibility or seismic safety and intended use of the building.


The Directive requires the EC to publish guidance on fire safety in car parks. Requirements for the inspection of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems shall also indicate any safety issue detected during the inspection. Member States shall ensure that guidance and training are made available for those responsible for implementing the Directive and that the training addresses fire safety.


EC restrictions chemicals in FCM

The EC recently launched a public consultation on the proposed regulation and annex on the restriction of bisphenol A (BPA) and other bisphenols in food contact materials (FCM) (

The proposal is welcome as it will impose a ban on the use of BPA in food contact materials (FCMs), including plastic and coated packaging. This follows the publication of the European Food Safety Authority’s opinion in 2023 (, which indicates a concern for human health. The measure also addresses the use of other bisphenols in FCMs to avoid replacing BPA with other harmful substances and sets out derogations and transitional periods for businesses. Nevertheless, we think there are some aspects that can be improved in the proposal and addressed these in our reply to the consultation ( Our reply takes into account our position paper with reflections on the basic directions for the future development of the EU legislative framework for Food Contact Material (FCM) (


Digital Society

World Consumer Rights Day 2024

‘Fair and Responsible Artificial Intelligence for Consumers’ ( was the theme of Consumers International’s campaign for World Consumer Rights Day 2024, celebrated each year on 15 March. To mark the occasion, ANEC hosted a training on 'Influencing AI standards that deliver for civil society - the international approach'.


The training took place online on Tuesday 12 March and was aimed at all those working in consumer or wider civil society organisations who want to understand the role of international and European standards, and how best to ensure they deliver good outcomes.

The European AI and Society Fund (EAISF) kindly supported ANEC in organising the well-attended event, presented by two well-known experts and consumer champions, Liz Coll and Julie Hunter. Participants learned the impact of AI on consumers, citizens and society; and about international AI standards and how these link to EU activity. The training closed with a review of means to influence AI standards and overcome barriers to involvement in standards development.

CEN–CENELEC JTC 21 meets in Dublin

ANEC AI Expert, Pete Eisenegger, represented ANEC at the CEN–CENELEC JTC 21 ‘Artificial Intelligence’ plenary meeting, hosted by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) and held at Microsoft Offices in Dublin in mid-February.

The meeting was attended by over 100 participants, including industry, civil society experts and the EC. The main topics were discussions around the suitability of ISO standards for adoption in Europe; an EC briefing on the state-of-play of the AI Act, the SReq and review of proposed new work items.

Pete gave a presentation at the plenary which focused on fundamental rights and the need to enhance the AI lifecycle for goods and services ‘on the market’.

Our second AI expert, Christian Grafenauer, attended meetings of JTC 21/WG2 (Operational aspects) and WG3 (Engineering aspects), contributing to the discussion on the draft standard for risk management systems.

The next plenary session is scheduled to take place in Bath, UK in early June.

ANEC’s participation in the plenary and WGs meetings was made possible thanks to the kind support of the European AI & Society Fund and the Mercator Foundation.


AI Standardisation Newsletter

The CEN–CENELEC JTC 21 ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Task Group on Inclusiveness has published the second edition of its newsletter.

The publication aims to inform stakeholders about the work taking place in JTC 21 Working Groups 1 to 5 and how stakeholders can find more information and become included in the preparation of the standards in support of the EU AI Act.


Thanks to the support of the European AI & Society Fund, ANEC is an active member of the Task Group Inclusiveness and encourages civil society stakeholders to engage in the process. Our peer Annex III organisation, ETUC, provides the secretariat and contact services for the newsletter. To be added to the mailing list of the newsletter, write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

EP approves CRA and AIA

During the past months, we have reported on the content of the two legislative proposals further to political agreements reached in 2023 and at the beginning of 2024.

At its plenary sitting in March 2024, the EP adopted the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) and Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act). The texts now need to be adopted by the Council. Moreover, a corrigendum procedure may need to be launched to address possible differences in the linguistic versions.


ANEC welcomes the adopted texts, even though they do not fully reflect our positions. Work has started on drafting the SReq to support the CRA and we look forward to its adoption and the development of the harmonised standards.

We are also contributing to the standards development under the current SReq on AI. However, we retain our concerns about the use of standards to support fundamental rights defined in the Act. We therefore see the possibility for the EC to develop “common technical specifications” as a fallback if the standards cannot be developed or are inadequate in their safeguards.

ANEC to host panel at CPDP 2024

The 17th Computer, Privacy & Data Protection (CPDP) conference will be held in Brussels from 22 to 24 May 2024. This year’s topic is “to govern or to be governed, that is the question” (

ANEC is delighted to have been selected to host the panel, ‘New Governance and Inclusiveness in AI Standardisation - how far have we gone?’.


The panel will be moderated by ANEC Deputy Director-General, Chiara Giovannini, and will review what the impact of measures to increase inclusiveness in CEN – CENELEC JTC 21 ‘Artificial Intelligence’ has been, what has been achieved so far, and identify the challenges still faced by civil society.

ANEC’s participation has been made possible with the kind support of the European AI & Society Fund.


New requirements for recognition of qualifications in healthcare

ANEC welcomes the adoption by the EC of delegated act C(2024)1319 which amends Directive 2005/36/EC as regards the minimum training requirements for the professions of nurse, dental practitioner and pharmacist. ( For the details of our view, see our position paper (


Our main points are:

  • we highlight the importance of aligning these requirements with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).
  • we emphasise the need for aspirational (rather than prescriptive) legislation to accommodate varied national specifications while aiming to improve professional qualifications across the EU.
  • we further suggest leveraging EU initiatives, such as eu4health, to facilitate adequate training amid challenges including the shortage of healthcare workers and an ageing population.
  • we draw attention to relevant European standardisation activities on patient centred care, in which ANEC has ensured the collective consumer voice is heard, and which we believe can serve as valuable references for good practices.

We thank our experts in ANEC Services WG for their contribution to our analysis.              

News from our sister organisations



BEUC, the mainstream European consumer organisation, has appointed Agustín Reyna as its next Director-General. He will take over from the current Director-General, Monique Goyens, who is retiring after having led BEUC for almost 17 years. Agustín is currently BEUC’s Director of Legal & Economic Affairs, and leads BEUC’s competition and financial services priorities.

Agustín will take office on 15 June 2024. Monique will support the organisation until end of October to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.

All in ANEC wish Agustín every success in his leadership of BEUC, building on the considerable achievements of Monique as Director-General.

List of comments 2024

List of meetings 2024

For comments or if you wish to write an article for the ANEC Newsletter, please contact: Helena CLARK (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).