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Spain

Ingeniero de telecomunicación (Spain)


  • Proportionality information

    1. Have you examined whether the requirements under your national legal system are
    directly or indirectly discriminatory on the basis of nationality or residence?
       

    Neither the national regulations on professional qualification requirements of a telecommunications engineer nor the requirements of our national legal system on the professional exercise, including covered nor reserved activities, contain aspects that could be considered discriminatory on the grounds of either nationality or residence.


    2. Which of the following overriding reasons relating to the general interest justifies the measure(s)?
         
    • Public health
    •    
    • Protection of consumers and recipients of services
    •    
    • Other, please specify
       Security of Telecommunications and Information Technologies

    3. What specific risks or benefits have you identified that your measure(s) is designed to, respectively, minimise or maximise?

       Please try to be specific in describing the nature of the risks/benefits you have identified
       Where you have selected more than one overriding reason relating to the general interest in question 2 please be sure to address each of these in your response. Wherever possible please include evidence.

       

    Acquired academic training, reserved activities and mandatory membership in a professional association guarantee that levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields remain within the limits considered safe for people's health. Telecommunications engineers protect fundamental rights such as the secrecy of telecommunications and a user’s free access to information, and they also ensure proper provision of essential services such as telecare, telemedicine, security systems, prevention of internet fraud, border control, preservation of the security of communications on frequency bands reserved for national defence, the police, health and civil protection services and the security of rail transport. The above points respond to the general interest reasons indicated in question 2, they prevent the intrusion of people who do not have the appropriate qualifications or training and ensure the provision of ongoing training in order to maintain constant improvements in the provision and quality of the services.


    4. How specifically do your measures operate to minimise the risk(s) or maximise the benefit(s) identified in question 3?

       When addressing this question please try to explain how the measures prevent the risks or guarantee the benefits.
       Where you have selected more than one overriding reason relating to the general interest in question 2 please be sure to address each of these in your response. Wherever possible please include evidence.

       

    Qualification requirements and reserved activities assure that professional activities (Law 9/2014, RD-Law 1/1998, RD 1066/2001) that affect the aforementioned reasons of general interest may only be performed by people who have acquired the specific skills established by the current legislation, especially by CIN 355/2009.

    Mandatory membership in professional associations (Law 2/1974, Law 25/2009) facilitates ongoing training and guarantees the professional's independence and liability with regard to public or private interests. The code of conduct, best practice and disciplinary function prevents these actions from harming the security of telecommunications and information technologies, consumers' or users' rights and people's health (control of radio emissions).

    It also protects users and consumers against asymmetric information. Engineering services are characterised by their complexity and major economic impact. Therefore, low quality professional practice might imply a high risk for the economy.


    5. In so far as you are able, please provide information that you have gathered regarding the concrete effects of the measure(s).

       For example, through impact assessments or information gathered during implementation or review of a measure. Member States who have recently undergone reforms may in particular be able to contribute helpfully to this field. Where you are able to provide cost-benefit analyses this would be particularly valuable.
       Information on whether the measures indeed successfully prevented risks from being realised (e.g. the number of sanctions imposed, a drop in transgressions since the measure was introduced or consequences from previous modifications of the regulation) would equally be helpful.
       Where you have selected more than one overriding reason relating to the general interest in question 2 please be sure to address each of these in your response. You may also wish to include evidence on consumer satisfaction or other measurements of the impact.

       

    Qualification requirements and reserved activities make it easier for public authorities to control the activities subject to license or authorisation, when such activities require a document signed by a qualified professional.  

    A professional association’s prior control leads to lower costs for the authorities, as they would have to pay if the professional associations did not exist. The cost is much lower than that of private qualification certification entities.

    These measures favour correct civil liability insurance as companies require insured professionals to be qualified and legally authorised to perform the activity.

    While we are unable to provide numerical information about risk reduction as a result of these measures, we can report that complaints to members of the professional association are almost non-existent and that all the professional jobs indicated in the answer to question 2 are exemplary in their design, maintenance and execution.

    This facilitates compliance with the aforementioned general interest reason.


    6. Is the general interest objective you indicated in question 2 pursued in a consistent and systematic manner?.

       In approaching your response to this question please consider examples where you have addressed similar risks for comparable professions, not necessarily within the same sector. Is the approach you have adopted in this particular profession comparable or distinct from such similar cases and why?

       

    The general interest objective indicated in question 2 is pursued consistently and systematically.

    Accreditation of the professionals is verified by the professional association when requesting any certification or submitting any professional work.

    The fact that there is one single state professional association implies that the aforementioned association functions are exercised uniformly throughout Spain. The professional association is the interlocutor with all the public authorities for the implementation of sector, professional and academic rules. Its legal status as a public law corporation and the fact that it is subject to the democratic principle in its activities guarantee the continuity of the professional association's status as the profession's representative and interlocutor, as well as its independence.

    Through “the one-stop shop”, the professional association offers free and accessible universal information to all professionals who are authorised to exercise the profession.


    7. Please explain in how far the degree of complexity or the nature of the activities
    which are reserved justify that these activities can be exclusively performed by professionals possessing a specific professional qualification?

       For example: when the tasks are essentially of a straightforward nature (such as preparing and printing pay slips etc.), or involve essentially the execution of instructions, specific professional aptitudes should not be required.

       

    The reserved professional activities in the field of telecommunications engineering are of highest technical complexity and they have a serious and direct effect on the general interest, health and the security of telecommunications and information technologies, as well as on user and consumer protection.  (See example in answers 2 and 3). That is why it is necessary for the practice of all these activities to be reserved for the professionals who can demonstrate sufficient training and qualifications, under prior supervision by the professional association, as otherwise there could be serious consequences for national security and the general interest. In the case of Telecommunications Engineering, the training requirements are set forth in Order CIN 355/2009, in the reserved activities and through mandatory membership in the professional association in order to practice the profession.


    8. Where you have indicated several measures in place in the screening tab,
    have you reviewed the cumulative effect of all these measures on professional activities?

       If not, why not?
       If yes, please outline for us how you approached assessing this issue as well as the results and conclusions or any learning you drew from this. Where possible please include evidence.

       

    Yes, the measures of assuring required qualifications, reserved activities and mandatory association membership act jointly for the maximum protection of public health, security of telecommunications and information technologies, as well as for user and consumer protection rights.

    Reserved activities require professionals to hold the top education level of a “Telecommunications Engineer” or the current “University Master's degree in Telecommunications Engineering” (MECES 3 – EQF-7), in line with the case law of the Supreme Court that combines the freedom of professional practice with the possession of the skills and competences for such practice.

    This ensures the suitability of the professional who will exercise the authorised activity, and after said professional action, it allows consumers and users to have an entity for addressing their claims and complaints, with application of disciplinary proceedings.

    The cumulative effects meet the criteria of non-discrimination, necessity and proportionality.


    9. Have you considered the use of alternative mechanisms to achieve your objective(s)?

       Please briefly explain. Where you have selected more than one option, please be sure to address each of these in your response.

       

    No, because the mechanisms of qualification requirements, reserved activities and mandatory membership in a professional association  ensure the professional competence of telecommunications engineers, their disciplinary control and code of conduct and the quality of their professional work. The mechanisms also favour ongoing training, effectively ensuring that skills are maintained for solving the typical problems of engineering and guaranteeing the professional activity.

    Any alternative mechanism would require a certification process for the registered professionals in each potential field of activity, which would be more costly for the system as a whole. 

    Nevertheless, the use of voluntary certification schemes in very specific activities which, due to their nature, may be suitable for such schemes is viewed favourably, provided that they are supplementary to the above mechanisms.


    10. Conclusion

       Following your internal examination of this regulated profession, which of the following have you concluded?

    •    Maintain current system

       Explain where relevant:

       

    The current system of a regulated profession with qualification requirements and mandatory membership in a professional association, with the required qualification being that of Telecommunication Engineer or University Master's Degree in Telecommunication Engineering (MECES 3 – EQF 7), should be maintained. The existing reserved activities should also be maintained in general in the field of Engineering (project design and planning and management and certification) and in particular those activities involving the very specific knowledge of telecommunication engineering in the reserved activities described in the "General" document, as well as those which in the future may be performed by telecommunication engineers based on their training, capacities and professional skills.
    Mandatory membership in a professional association for Telecommunication Engineers should be maintained as their activities directly affect the general interest reasons indicated in question 2.


    11. Any other comments?
       

    As a summary, we would like to underline the three special reasons –question 2-, relating to the general interest, that justify Telecommunication Engineer as a regulated profession:
    •Public Health: there is a specific piece of legislation - Royal Decree 1066/2001 - in force in Spain that sets forth an annual obligation to measure, verify and certify the levels of exposure of mobile telephone and broadcast radio and television networks in order to guarantee that said levels are below the limits that might pose a risk to human health.
    •Protection of consumers and recipients of services: the final customer of most of the activities of our professionals is the society as a whole.
    •Other: Security of Telecommunications and Information Technologies, bearing in mind the negative impact which poor management of radio communications systems might have on National Defence, Police and "Guardia Civil", border protection, civil protection, rail transport, network security, cyber-security, the secrecy of telecommunications etc.

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