The European professional card is a project aimed to facilitate the free movement of professionals in the EU under the modernized of the Professional Qualifications Directive. The card should simplify the administrative procedure for recognition, make it more transparent for citizens and increase trust among the competent authorities of EU Member States.
The Commission outlined the main features of such a card in its Green Paper of 22 June 2011.
On 7 April 2014 the European Commission published a consultation on introducing the European Professional Card (EPC) for nurses, doctors, pharmacists, physiotherapists, engineers, mountain guides & real estate agents. These 7 professions were proposed by the European Commission for the assessment in greater detail following the publication of the results of the call for expression of interest. Not all of these professions will necessarily be selected for the first EPC. Other interested professions will be considered at a subsequent stage.
The objective of this consultation is to seek further views and collect data on issues including the mobility of professionals, application procedures & fees from the professional associations & the authorities responsible for recognition of professional qualifications in the EU countries. The Commission will use the responses to assess whether the EPC is appropriate for the professions concerned, and what impact it will have on EU countries. Other interested parties – e.g. employers’ organisations, trade unions, or other public authorities – are also welcome to contribute their views.
On 18 October 2013 the European Commission invited representative professional organisations and associations at national and EU level to express an interest in the introduction of the European Professional Card for their respective professions.
The European Professional Card can only be introduced for professions which meet the criteria set out in the Directive in terms of the possible mobility between Member States, regulation of the profession in Member States and, the interest of the professionals. As a consequence, not every profession will be able to benefit from this card at European level.
The implementation of the EPC project has been subject to discussions within an expert group launched by the European Commission in January 2011: the ‘Steering Group on the Professional Card’. The Group comprised representatives of Member States national administrations (Ministries of Economy, Ministries of Education, Ministries of Health), competent authorities and a range of different professional organisations. The group was chaired by the Commission services.
The Group held six meetings; the last meeting took place in September 2011. The discussions in sub-group resulted in case studies for different professions (doctors, engineers, mountain guides, nurses, physiotherapists). Moreover, participants discussed two further papers on the profession of real estate agents and on ideas by some competent authorities in charge of the regulation of pharmacists.
The Commission created a Focus Group on the European Professional Card as one of the measures supporting the assessment of the suitability of the European Professional Card to a given profession and its impact on the Member States. The Group contributes to the analysis of whether a given profession fulfils the introduction criteria for the card and plays an active role in the discussions regarding the functioning of the card.
The Focus Group consists of a limited number of participants composed of representatives of professional organisations at European level as well as Member State competent authorities for the professions for which the introduction of the European Professional Card is further examined at this stage.