Why European standard?

25th of November 2010

Marek Kowalski of the Polish cleaning association believes there is a need for a European standard.

At a European meeting of the ISSA in Germany recently it was finally acknowledged that a united Europe should have a common cleanliness standard. Why does this make sense? First of all, the public tender regulation is based on the same principles all over the European Union. Yet, how to develop tender specifications based on equal tender rights for all the member states’ companies while the very term cleanliness means something else in different countries?

The opponents to the introduction of common standards claim that tradition and cultural aspects will not allow for their effective implementation all over the EU. In my opinion these are only excuses resulting from the concern about the reaction of national associations, laziness stemming from the necessity to explain the need to them and the anxiety of losing the membership fees if they did not like the solution.

Such behaviour can, nevertheless, prove destructive if attempts to win contracts in other member countries end in failure. In such cases it can turn out that the current reserved approach of many organisations may contribute to narrowing the development possibilities of their members.

Such international companies as ISS, Hectas and Sodexo which have their representatives in the countries of eastern Europe do understand the problems. So maybe it is worthwhile applying their experience and supporting them in their struggle to gain new markets in, one way or the other, a united  Europe, where the regulation on the free flow of services has been in place for the last couple of years.

Some might ask why ISSA should handle the matter? On the one hand it is an international association, on the other it has its roots in the USA. I could answer it in a concise way: because it was the only organisation which actually saw the problem.

The implementation of European standards will require lobbying among European members of parliament, business organisations and trade unions. Poland has already started the process - we are having talks with our members of parliament via business organisations with their headquarters in Brussels and via the European Social Economic Committee.

I want to remind you that ignorance and superficial knowledge of industry issues in general already resulted in absurd decisions such as, for example, the one from agriculture department where the famous shape and length of a cucumber was specified. The regulation complicated the possibility of trading in the European Union market for many farmers. Fortunately Russia did not object and accepted all the produce which had not been recognised by the MEPs. Should such solutions be the goal of the EU member states?

Let us try to influence what is unavoidable and support those who want to help us in that respect. Maybe ISSA, although of American origin, will effectively contribute to solving the problems which will, sooner or later, influence the European cleaning industry. Poland will support those activities. I also hope that all the other countries of eastern Europe will join the project. One way or the other, all those holding the European presidency, regardless of the country of origin, are heading for a common Europe, guided by a united law and united principles of its execution.


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  • ISSA Interclean
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