Virtual European Events for SMEs

(top to bottom) Chairman of CEN TC/10 Esfandiar Gharibaan and EFESME Secretary General Luciano Faletto discussing the importance of harmonized standards

SBS Lift Seminar, European SMEs Congress and SBS Lift Forum make for a busy year’s end.

by Elettra Bilibio

SBS Lift Seminar

The European Federation for Elevator Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (EFESME) organized the Small Business Standards (SBS) Lift Seminar in two virtual sessions on November 3 and 10, 2020. Organized every year since 2017 as part of the federation’s activities with SBS, this year’s seminar focused on the ongoing revision of the EN 81 series of standards and the work carried out within the CEN-CENELEC HaS Task Force.

EFESME separated the seminar into two thematic sessions: one dedicated to CEN-CENELEC, represented by Esfandiar Gharibaan, chairman of CEN TC/10, and the other dedicated to the European Commission (EC) and its expectations on the revision of the standards, presided over by Vesa Katajisto, policy officer and technical desk officer of DG Grow, the EC’s department for growth. Both sessions included lively question-and-answer portions.

Session One

The first session opened with the welcoming speeches by EFESME President Massimo Bezzi and SBS President Gunilla Almgren. Both underlined the importance of having more SMEs involved in the standardization processes at the national, European and international level. Supporting SME participation in the activities of the European Standardisation System (ESS) is the cornerstone of SBS activities and many projects carried out by EFESME.

The session then entered its dialogue phase with Gharibaan and EFESME Secretary General Luciano Faletto’s presentation that explained how work is progressing on the revision of EN 81 and what to expect for it. They also explained how standardization in the lift sector has developed over the years. Legal issues and the importance of having harmonized standards, as well as how to encourage the direct participation of SMEs in standardization processes at all levels, were also discussed. Additionally, technical questions about the standards being revised and more general topics, such as the consequences of the then-forthcoming Brexit on the use of standards, were raised.

Session Two

The second session, while resuming the discussion on the core review of EN 81 from where it had been left the week before, handed over the baton to DG Grow and focused on its expectations. This time, the seminar was opened by Damyan Petrov, EFESME vice-president, and Maitane Olabarria Uzquiano, SBS director, both of whom stressed the importance of the EFESME and SBS collaboration, and the SMEs’ voice.

Immediately afterward, Katajisto presented the EC’s views on the current review. He also went into details explaining EC’s expectations, the importance of Mandate M/549 and EC’s requests when drafting harmonized standards. Faletto and Ivan Ferrarini, technical director at Farma Ascensori and an EFESME/SBS expert, had a lively exchange of opinions with him to clarify many aspects of the mandate and its content, and to again underline harmonized standards’ importance for the whole sector. In particular, the experts highlighted how important it is for SMEs to have their positions included in the revision of EN 81, which regulates the lift sector and its daily work. Then, Katajisto explained the various possible ways of SMEs’ participation.

EFESME is particularly satisfied with the event, including the quality of the guests’ interaction, which led to a lively and stimulating question-and-answer session. Given the importance of informing, training and working with SMEs, the federation will continue to organize online and, as soon as possible, face-to-face events to make SMEs more prominent in European and international standardization and in European policymaking processes to help them create a competitive, opportunity-rich and SME-friendly working environment.


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