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VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT EXCHANGE – TERMS OF
REFERENCE

1. Directive 2009/125/EC of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products (the ecodesign Directive) establishes a horizontal framework for the achievement of environmental objectives, notably energy efficiency improvements. Following certain steps, including a preparatory study which assesses the potential improvements in energy consumption, detailed objectives for energy-related products are set either via an Implementing Measure (IM) or a self-regulatory initiative (SRI), including a Voluntary Agreement (VA). According to Article 18 of the Directive priority is to be given to self-regulation. 2. Annex VIII of the Directive provides criteria which have to be met by a SRI/VA. These criteria are supplemented by guidelines prepared by the European Commission (the Commission) and published following consultation with the Consultation Forum. 3. Noting that a SRI/VA is a unilateral self-commitment presented by industry for a particular product or product group, each SRI/VA contains obligations applicable to, and appropriate for, that product/product group only. Moreover, other operational and administrative aspects, including matters relating to governance, monitoring, reporting, etc., differ in terms of how they are designed to meet the criteria in Annex VIII. 4. Recognising that there may be benefits to be gained from greater consistency in the operational and administrative aspects of SRIs/VAs the Digital Interoperability Forum (DIF), with the support of the Commission’s services, proposed to facilitate an exchange of views and experience between SRIs/VAs. Accordingly the VA Exchange has been established. This document sets out the terms of reference for the VA Exchange. 5. Participation in the VA Exchange is open to any representative of an industry which has, is proposing or is intending to propose, a SRI/VA for an energy-related product where that SRI/VA is intended to comply with Annex VIII of the ecodesign Directive. 6. Members of the Consultation Forum may be invited to attend a meeting of the VA Exchange if this is unanimously agreed between the SRIs/VAs. 7. Discussions at meetings wil be minuted and the minutes shal be published and sent to the Commission. Confidential matters wil be excluded from the minutes. 8. DIF wil act as the Secretariat to the VA Exchange. 9. The VA Exchange will act as a forum for the exchange of views and expertise and may make recommendations for changes to a SRI/VA to achieve greater consistency between them. It is, however, for each SRI/VA to propose any changes to its signatories and to implement them as appropriate. Each SRI/VA is responsible for the achievement of its environmental objectives and conformity to the criteria in Annex VIII. Where agreed, the VA Exchange may act as a representative and spokesperson for all SRIs/VAs. This may include, for example, the submission of comments in response to a consultation, representation in meetings, etc. Where written responses are made these will be agreed unanimously by the participants to the VA Exchange. Similarly where other forms of representation are required this will be agreed unanimously. Notwithstanding paragraph 11, each SRI/VA is responsible for the operation of its own self-regulatory initiative, the views of its signatories and the representation of those views to the Commission, Consultation Forum and other third parties. Each SRI/VA and DIF undertakes to promote, and not to detract from, self-regulation under the ecodesign Directive. Col ectively they wil promote the VA Exchange. Each SRI/VA and DIF wil meet its own costs of participation in the VA Exchange. Where the VA Exchange acts on behalf of al SRIs/VAs a sharing of costs may be agreed. The VA Exchange shall have no assets. Neither the VA Exchange nor any of its participants, including DIF, shal have any liability for the actions of any other participant in the VA Exchange.

Source: http://www.difgroup.eu/uploads/DocsAndMediaManager/documents/VA%20Exchange%20TOR.pdf

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B Y S E B A S T I A N D U L L I E N hile globalization is perceived as a challenge both inthe United States and in Europe, the policy debate inboth regions differs widely with even the position ofthe right and left sometimes reversed. Following standard stereotypes, it is clear thatWAmericans are more pro-market than Europeans. Does not the old continent struggle with the conse-quences of

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Simon Thorley QC Practice Area Simon Thorley has an extensive intellectual property practice, particularly in the field of chemical and biotechnology patents but extending to cover all other patent matters, passing off, infringement of trade marks, copyright and designs and breach of confidence. He also advises on EEC law relating to intellectual property and in technical commercial di

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