Standing Committee Meeting in Lisbon

Geneva (30 September 2013): The 73rd meeting of the Standing Committee (SC) took place in Lisbon (Portugal) on 16 September 2013 under the chairmanship of Mr Ronald W.A. Le Bas (Irish Assay Office). The meeting was attended by 64 officials representing 27 countries of which 19 Contracting States, 3 Applicant States (Croatia, Serbia and Ukraine) and 6 non-Members (Georgia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Romania, and Russia). It was the first time that the meeting was attended by representatives of Georgia.

The SC welcomed the letter of intent by the Government of Serbia to apply for Convention's membership and encouraged Serbia to lodge such application as soon as possible in line with the Accession Guidelines.  Similarly, it encouraged Croatia, whose Government submitted a similar letter of intent back in 2011, to also submit a membership application.  Both Croatia and Serbia currently enjoy the status of "Applicant States".

One of the main points of discussion during the meeting was the Czech objection to Italy's accession, which was lodged in February 2012. The Czech Republic remains the only Contracting States (out of 19) to formally object to Italy's accession. The Standing Technical Group (STG), a Sub-Committee of the SC, has reviewed the "objective evidence" provided by the Czech Government and found that it was outside the scope of the Convention.  This was also endorsed by the representatives of all Contracting States with the exception of the Czech representatives.  As a next step, the Depositary will be consulted on how to further to proceed.

The SC discussed two Notes by the Secretariat: the first was on how to deal with States which were not recognised by some Member States and the second was on how to possibly improve the future operation of the Convention in the light of the weaknesses revealed by Italy's membership bid.  On the first Note, the SC reviewed the opinion of 5 Contracting States, which were received in advance of the meeting.  Considering that more States wished to take position, the consultation was extended by 6 months.  On the second Note, the SC agreed to start a consultation of Members on how to address issues such as unanimous consent for membership application, the interpretation of the Convention's requirements, etc.

Members agreed to reconvene in Geneva (Switzerland) on 27 March 2014.  They also bid farewell to Dr Mykola Nazymok (Head of the Ukrainian State Assay Office) who attended the SC meeting for the last time.