Green Paper Modernising the Professional Qualifications Directive

Source: MBB

Professional mobility is a key element of competitiveness¸ and a modernisation of the directive would further provide for this. Modernisation would also strengthen the position of the EU international trade negotiations¸ obtaining better market access in third countries. Currently¸ intra-EU trade in services represents only about 25% of overall trade within the EU.

To take full advantage of freedom of movement¸ professionals must have their qualifications easily recognised in other member states. Thus¸ it is essential that the directive sets out clear and simple rules for recognition of professional qualifications.

The Green Paper builds upon an evaluation of the directive launched by the Commission in March 2010. It presents new ideas for the facilitation of mobility¸ explores ways to build on achievements¸ and sets out options for the modernisation of automatic recognition.

New Approaches to Mobility

The European Professional Card

Such a card could be built around state of the art communication technologies to create a mechanism which will give it concrete effects under a modernised directive. The IMI could facilitate much faster cooperation between the issuing and the receiving member state. This would enable a fast track recognition process for the card holder.

Under such a system¸ authorities in the receiving member state would not have to verify all the information that has already been examined by the member state of origin. It would serve to replace administrative documents which member states require under Article 7 of the directive. Temporary mobility would become much simpler¸ while any necessary controls would still be possible. The idea is that a card could attest that the professional’s qualifications comply with the harmonised minimum requirements under a modernised directive. As a result of this¸ recognition procedures could be shortened to a maximum of one month¸ down from the current maximum of four months. Such a card would also benefit consumers¸ in terms of transparency and guarantees that the holder is competent to exercise the profession.

Focus on Economic Activities: The Principle of Partial Access

Difficulties with recognition may arise if the scope of activities performed as part of the profession differs between home and receiving member state. The differences may be so large that the professional would be required to re undergo the full programme of education and training. A way to override this is the insertion of the principle (interpretation of ECJ) into the directive¸ which would then extend safeguards offered to professionals.

Reshaping Common Platform

The Commission wishes to respond to the demand for easier mobility by allowing for smoother recognition through a possible new approach to common platforms. They could operate in much the same way as the system of automatic recognition for selected professions¸ but without requiring the need for participation by all member states.

Building on Achievements

Access to Information and E-Government

A modernised directive could enable the availability of a central online access point with complete relevant information required for recognition of professional qualification. A further step would be offering professionals the possibility of completing all the required procedures online.

The question of ‘regulated education and training’