Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Coronavirus: Commission helps EU countries speed up the recognition of health workers’ professional qualifications

Coronavirus: Commission helps EU countries speed up the recognition of health workers’ professional qualifications
Published on: 07/05/2020
Today, the Commission issued a communication providing guidance to EU countries to help them address the shortages of health workers created by the coronavirus emergency.

The guidance will help EU countries to speed up the recognition of health workers’ professional qualifications and clarify the rules to allow doctors and nurses in training to practise their profession.

Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said, “The coronavirus crisis has put an incredible strain on all countries’ health systems and created shortages of qualified health workers around Europe. Today we’re helping Member States to make better use of the existing rules to recognise health workers’ qualifications and help them perform their duties where and when needed.”

Today’s guidance addresses practical concerns regarding the implementation of the EU's professional qualifications directive, which sets out a framework to facilitate the free movement of professionals, including doctors and nurses, within Europe.

Specifically, the guidance sets out how EU countries can speed up procedures to facilitate the mutual recognition of qualifications in line with the flexibilities provided by the directive.

In addition, it clarifies how EU countries can ensure that the directive's rules on minimum requirements on doctor and nurses' trainings can be respected in cases where students are not able to complete their trainings because of disruptions due to the coronavirus crisis, including by requesting a derogation from these rules. The guidance affirms the Commission's availability to support EU countries and professionals to weather the crisis, maintain their free movement rights and ensure patients' safety.