The European Commission has requested Italy to recognise comparable qualifications obtained in another Member State by foreign candidates who want to become full professors in Italy.
Current Italian rules provide that candidates to be recruited as full professors who are not qualified as associate professors must undergo a teaching test. While holders of the Italian qualification as associate professor are exempt from such a test, the holders of comparable qualifications obtained in other Member States of the EU are not.
The Commission considers that applying a different treatment to candidates who have obtained qualifications as associate professors in other Member States and which are comparable to those obtained in Italy, amounts to indirect discrimination on grounds of nationality. This is contrary to EU rules on free movement of workers.
Italian authorities also consider that qualifications for posts as university professors obtained in other Member States cannot be recognised automatically as university teaching is not a regulated profession. Based on Court of Justice's jurisprudence, the Commission believes that a comparison should be carried out between the Italian qualifications and the qualifications obtained in other Member States, so that all candidates with comparable qualifications are treated equally.
The request takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Italy has now two months to inform the Commission of measures it has taken to bring its legislation into line with EU law. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer Italy to the EU's Court of Justice.