Legal metrology includes the technical and administrative procedures established in law to guarantee the quality of measurements made during commercial transactions and official controls. WELMEC, the European Cooperation in Legal Metrology, coordinates the collaboration between legal metrology authorities in member states of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association and associated countries.
In 2010, WELMEC and EURAMET, the two key European organisations leading the legal and scientific measurement communities with a long history of mutually beneficial cooperation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Now both organisations are exploring possibilities to further intensify the collaboration, with WELMEC moving its secretariat to EURAMET in October 2017.
"The measurement communities in Europe should speak with one voice, regardless if it is about legal or scientific metrology," says WELMEC Chairperson Gregor Dudle. "The form of cooperation has still to be defined, but I strongly belief that both, EURAMET and WELMEC, will benefit from a rapprochement. Sharing a common secretariat is a first step."
Created in 1990, WELMEC is the primary source for trusted advice on legal metrology issues in Europe. It aims at establishing a consistent approach to legal metrology for the benefit of all stakeholders including consumers, businesses, EU and national authorities. To date, WELMEC has 31 members and 8 associate members. From the beginning, they shared a common vision to foster free movement of measuring instruments by reducing barriers to trade. Over the years WELMEC has gained importance and become the main platform to identify, address and act on issues in legal metrology.
Major achievements of WELMEC include:
- the development of a large number of guidance documents, which harmonise best-practice solutions in the field of the 'Measuring Instruments Directive (MID)', the 'Directive on Non-automatic Weighing Instruments (NAWID)' and directives on pre-packages
- the recognition of WELMEC guides as reference documents by the European Commission
- the development of guidance documents to explain how normative documents should be interpreted
- the support for authorities in implementing the directives
The most-popular WELMEC guides include the 'Guide on the General and Administrative Aspects of the Voluntary System of Modular Evaluation of Measuring instruments', the 'Guide on Common application of Directive 2009/23/EC Non-automatic weighing instruments' and the 'Software Guide'. In addition, stakeholders from industry appreciate the overview on legal metrology authorities in WELMEC member countries.
"As the fields of activities of both organisations complement each other, joint efforts and actions support the visibility and recognition of the science of measurement in Europe as a whole," explains Beat Jeckelmann, EURAMET Chairperson. "We are looking forward to intensify the exchange of expertise and experts on various topics, including WELMEC's valuable input to the European Metrology Research Programmes."
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