Vittorio Tabacchi, chairman of Eurom 1, and Bertrand de Limé, general manager of the organization, which groups all the national federations of suppliers of ophthalmic optic products, met members of the European Parliament earlier this month to ask for stricter European guidelines on eye tests for children and drivers.

Generic criteria for the issuance of drivers' licenses are already governed by a directive of the European Union, but their implementation is left up to the national governments. Members of the European Parliament were surprised to see the enormous differences that exist from one country to another, as indicated by a comparative study published in the last issue of EWI.

As reported, the position paper was co-signed by Euromcontact and ECOO, the European federation of contact lens producers and optometrists. Eurom 1 is determined to keep on the pressure in Brussels on the issues of road safety and children's vision. Important differences among the various national legislations exist also in the area of children's vision, which appears to be politically more interesting for governmental action.

These two issues and others were debated at the annual meeting of Eurom 1 last month. The Vision Council of the U.S. was invited to participate in the meeting, which was held in Rome. Both Tabacchi and de Limé publicly expressed their hope at the meeting that a broader European Vision Council, similar to that in the U.S., will see the light in the near future in order to make the current lobbying efforts more effective, for budgetary reasons and for other purposes. In their view, the future European Vision Council should group Eurom 1 and all other eyewear-related organizations in Europe, acting as an enlarged platform for debate and action on issues of common interest.

Besides Euromcontact and ECOO, the European Sunglass Association (ESA) has been invited to join Eurom 1 or such a broader organization in one way or another, similar to the situation in the U.S. Contacts have taken place between Eurom 1 and ESA over the past three years without any results. There is hope, however, that they will be able to lobby together on certain issues of common interest.

At their annual meeting in Rome, the members of Eurom 1 also discussed the issue of mandatory labels of imports, which producers of clothing, shoes and other products want to see imposed on items sold in the European Union that come in from other countries.

Under pressure from some of the major Italian groups, Eurom 1 has succeeded in taking eyewear out of a list of products for which the European Parliament wants to see “made in” labels imposed, but there is still a possibility that the European Commission and the European Council will take some kind of action in this regard.

Eurom 1 decided to work on the subject by specifying the criteria that should be followed for ophthalmic lenses and frames to determine the country of origin of the manufactured products. It also plans to give its contribution to the definition of a “unique device identification” that European health authorities want to see adopted to guarantee the safety of any medical devices.