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Commission seeks views on professional recognition system
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The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC) providing everyone with an opportunity to highlight areas of the directive they feel could be simplified and made more user-friendly. The paper also seeks views on how to integrate better professionals working in the Single Market and whether a European Professional Card would facilitate mobility of professionals.

The directive enables professionals (doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, lawyers, architects etc) to take full advantage of the Single Market in finding a job or extending their business in another EU country.  It covers more than 800 professions which member states regulate, with a number of professionals in the health sector and architects enjoying automatic recognition of their qualifications based on harmonisation of the respective training conditions throughout the EU.
A public hearing is scheduled for 21 February 2011 and interested parties have until 15 March 2011 to send in their contributions.
The results of the consultation will feed into an evaluation report and a green paper due in autumn 2011. The Commission will come forward with a proposal for modernising the directive in 2012.
Updating this directive is one of the actions set out in the Single Market Act adopted in October 2010 (IP/10/1390) and follows Commission reports on how the directive works in practice (IP/10/1367).

    Commission seeks views on professional recognition system

    The consultation focuses on three key challenges

    Further simplification for citizens
    The consultation invites interested parties to assess proposals to minimise the number of problems professionals face when trying to relocate in the EU.

    One important improvement could be more consistent application of the directive across the EU by the authorities dealing with it (almost 1,000). Better planning could help address the needs of university students and young graduates who wish to take up posts and jobs abroad in the future. Further help to relocate professionals could be provided. Efforts could be made to improve the mobility of professionals between a member state not regulating a profession and a member state which does regulate (eg. tourist guides, engineers).

    The possibility of a European Professional Card
    The 2005 directive offered tools to make it easier to move abroad, such as professional cards and common platforms, such as sets of commonly agreed criteria of professional qualifications used to reduce differences in training requirements. However, these tools have not been taken up generally. . As a result, the consultation asks for views on a European professional card which could make it easier for professionals wanting to work abroad to demonstrate their credentials, would provide more transparency to consumers and employers and enhance confidence between the authorities.

    A steering group made up of 32 experts from European associations representing different professions (architects, doctors, engineers, lawyers, mountain guides, midwives, pharmacists, engineers, real estate agents, tourist sector professionals and others) and experts from 10 member states (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, United Kingdom) will consider this issue . Their first meeting will be held on 10 January 2011.

    How to increase awareness on EU legislation in this area
    The 2005 directive brings together several systems of automatic recognition, notably doctors, general care nurses, dentists, midwives, veterinary surgeons, pharmacists, architects, and many activities in the craft and trade sector.

    The consultation asks stakeholders:
    - to consider the need to modernise training requirements for these professions;
    - to comment on the need to strengthen cooperation between different national authorities, for example when there are irregularities. An alert mechanism could be introduced for offences such as the presentation of false documentation.
    - to comment on the scale of problems related to the language skill requirements professionals are required to demonstrate.

    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.

    Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only.

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    Last update: 18/01/2011  |Top