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Friday, January 7, 2011

Public consultation on the Professional Qualifications Directive

Employment, Social Affairs, Citizenship, Trade,Local and Regional authorities,Corporations,Federations Unions,Administrations States,Agencies Chambers,SMEs,Non-profit organisations,

News January 7, the Commission launched a public consultation on the Professional Qualifications Directive in order to simplify or make it more accessible. The consultation is open until March 15th, 2011 and a public hearing is scheduled for February 21st, 2011. The objective of consultation is also studying proposals for a better integration of professionals working in the Single Market. Thus, the creation of a European professional card is contemplated. Updating this Directive was forseen in the Single Market Act market adopted in October 2010. The directive is essential because it allows professionals to exploit the opportunities of the single market to enabling professionals to take full advantage of the potential of the Single Market in finding a job or extending their business in another Member State. A Green Paper on this subject is planned for this autumn. A proposal for modernising the Directive will be proposed in 2012.

The Professional Qualifications Directive covers more than 800 professions which Member States regulate and which can be pursued only if certain professional qualifications have been acquired. A number of professionals in the health sector and architects enjoy automatic recognition of their qualifications based on harmonisation of the respective training conditions throughout the EU. What is the public consultation about? The consultation focuses on three key challenges: 1. Further simplification for citizens The consultation invites stakeholders to assess a number of proposals aimed at minimising 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 may wish to take up posts and jobs abroad in the future. Further help to relocate professionals could be provided. Finally, 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 this profession (e.g. tourist guides; engineers). 2. The possibility of a European Professional Card The 2005 Directive offered tools, such as professional cards and common platforms (sets of commonly agreed criteria of professional qualifications were used to reduce differences in training requirements), to professionals and professional organisations to facilitate mobility. These tools have not, however, had the full effect hoped for as they have not been taken up. As a result, the consultation asks stakeholders for their opinion 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 concerned. On 10 January 2011, 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 (notably from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, United Kingdom) will also start to reflect on the issue of a European professional card. 3. How to increase awareness on EU legislation in this area The 2005 Directive consolidated several systems of automatic recognition, notably for 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 the 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 when offences like the presentation of false documentation occurs when a professional is seeking recognition of his/her diploma in another Member State. * to comment on the scale of problems related to the language skill requirements professionals are required to demonstrate. What are the next steps? Stakeholders are invited to respond until 15 March 2011, and a public hearing is scheduled for 21 February 2011. A final evaluation report and a Green Paper will be published in autumn 2011. This will be followed by a legislative proposal for modernising the Directive in 2012.

Source :  European Commission - DG Internal Market

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