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The questions on the legality of the procedure revisited

by Antonis Christofides — last modified 2011-07-11 16:28

Some light has been shed on the questions that had been raised concerning the procedures of ELOT, the Greek ISO National Body. ELOT gave us the documents we requested and we've also had some oral explanations.

The Technical Committee 48 had been dissolved for irrelevant reasons, and was re-established in 2007. Three decisions have been made concerning its composition:

Decision content
The Committee will consist of 8 public and 8 academic and private organisations. 11 organisations are mentioned as initial composition.
The decision says that three new organisations are added; but in the resulting list, there are 12 organisations rather than 14, as two of the original 11 are missing.
Four (public) organisations are added.

In autumn 2007 I had contacted ELOT, and there was effort towards a balanced committee composition. It had been decided that the Committee consist of 12 organisations; namely 4 ministries, 4 academic institutions, and 4 private organisations. My understanding is that the second decision was more involved than the first one, which was quick and somewhat dirty, and that to some extent the silent removal of some organisations was bad phrasing.

The big question is therefore the third decision, which was made when the Committee had been established and was working. According to oral information that I received from ELOT, the four organisations expressed interests themselves, and ELOT decided to add them to the Committee. Was that legal? Here is what the rules of procedure say:

Modification of the composition of a Technical Committee is allowed if this is necessary for reasons of general organisation or re-organisation of standardisation in Greece. ... In case of modification of the composition, the composition must still be representative after the modification, and must not create any danger for creation of dominant interests or for taking one-sided decisions.

When a committee already works and studies an issue where huge interests are obviously involved and for which so much noise have been made across the globe, you can't add four new organisations to the committee, a few days before the important votings, just because these organisations asked, and claim that there is no danger for the creation of dominant interests. Neither do I see any reason concerning organisation or re-organisation of standardisation, which necessitates a modification of the committee composition, especially in that sensitive moment.

Was this violation intended or inadvertent? In almost every organisation, some people have good intentions, some are careless, some are corrupt, some have their hands tied. ELOT is neither independent nor free from pressure. As is the case in many state-owned organisations and companies in Greece, the CEO of ELOT is appointed by the government. However, my understanding is that, to a large extent, the problem was due to carelessness and lack of experience in such phenomena, which also seems to have been the case in other National Bodies, given that such manipulations and with such extent have not happened before, and the procedures were not designed to hold enough. In any case, whether there was intention or not, the blame lays largely on ELOT.

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