IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE - The information on this site is subject to a disclaimer and a copyright notice.
No 11 (March 98/Mars 98/M?z 98)
The European Commission has decided to refer Greece to the Court of Justice and to request the Court to impose financial penalties for failure to apply rulings of the Court of Justice concerning an infringement arising from EU rules on recognition of qualifications. The decision is based on Article 171 of the EC Treaty. The case concerns the failure by Greece to implement Directive 89/48/EEC, which set up a general system of recognition of higher education qualifications. The Commission has decided to propose to the Court that it imposes financial penalties of ECU 41,000 per day. The proposal for financial penalties is based on the seriousness of the infringement, its duration and the need to ensure a dissuasive effect.
The Commission takes violations of Community law concerning citizens rights very seriously indeed. For citizens wishing to exercise their rights to live and work in another Member State, the smooth operation of the system for recognising diplomas is essential. Almost seven years after the deadline expired for implementing the Directive on the general system of recognition of higher education qualifications, it is unacceptable that Greece has still not fulfilled its obligations.
The Commission has decided to refer Greece to the Court of Justice for failing to implement the Court of Justice ruling of 23 March 1995. In its ruling, the Court condemned Greece having failed to transpose Directive 89/48/EEC. This Directive, which entered into force on 4 January 1991, set up a general system of recognition of higher education qualifications which sanction vocational training courses of at least three-years duration.
The Directive is intended to encourage free movement of persons within the European Union while ensuring that people wishing to practise their profession in another Member State do not have to qualify all over again. In this respect, the Directive is of direct benefit to the citizen.
The basic principle of the general system of recognition of qualifications is that the host Member State cannot refuse access to a regulated profession to a Community national who is fully qualified to follow this same profession in his or her Member State of origin.
The Commission has noted that this Directive is still not implemented in Greece. This has very negative consequences for Greek nationals who obtained their qualifications in other Member States and for nationals of other Member States who want to exercise their profession in Greece. The Commission has received numerous complaints on this subject.
The Commission is therefore requesting the Court to require Greece to conform finally to the 1995 Court ruling, and so remove the remaining obstacles to free movement of the professions, and also requesting the Court to impose a financial penalty on Greece.
For more information,