A European Professional Card for real estate professionals: fiction or reality?

A second meeting with professional organizations was held by the European Commission on 29 October in the context of the evaluation of the Directive on the Recognition of professional Qualifications. Many issues have been opened for debate, among which temporary mobility, automatic recognition on the basis of minimum requirements,  as well as professional experience, compensation measures and common platforms. 
The Commissioner for Internal Market, Michel Barnier, clearly shows a specific interest in European professional cards. The professional card is particularly important for the real estate professions and for CEPI. Our concerns are being highlighted in a soon-to-be-published position paper.

Several professional organizations have already carried out extensive work on the professional card with a view of developing cards for particular professions which can also serve as a model for general use.

FEANI (the main organization representing engineers at a European level) has received EU funding to develop its "ENGCARD" project. FEANI had already established its own professional title EURING.

The goal of the ENGCARD project is to certify the accredited qualifications in engineering of professionals, and to present them in a standardized way on a secured chip card based on the EUROPASS framework. It does not replace or overrule the national legislation in place. It involves validation at a national and European level. The name of the cardholder is added to a database, which serves as the register of professional engineers whose qualifications and experience have been certified by a third party at European level. This allows employers or public administrations in charge of recognition of qualifications to check the information.

An umbrella organization has been established (under the control of FEANI) called ENGCARD Issuing Organisation (EIO) covering the Certification and Validation Committees, European Professional Cards Committee and National Professional Cards Committees. Whilst under the control of FEANI, EIO also includes several stakeholders such as other European professional engineering organizations, social partners, representatives of the profession, etc.

The project also included the development of a business plan aimed at enabling the organization which issues and validates the card to be self-sufficient (based on the assumption that at least 100,000 cards would be delivered within the first 5 years). Financing possibilities include keeping the implementation within the professional organization financed by a bank loan. A second possibility is to outsource the complete process to a third party which takes over the development and the operation, reimbursement following a pay-per-card system.

At the conclusion of the project, the German national member of FEANI decided to implement a professional card for engineers in Germany and invited other national members to participate in the project. As of 2009, it was confirmed that national members from Switzerland, the Netherlands and Austria would participate. This involves setting up professional cards for engineers at a national level first but keeping in mind the objective to establish a European card at a later stage. This pilot project is now under way, in the form of the "engineeringING Card", which gives information about academic studies, professional experience, further education and membership of professional associations (see Annex 2). Information about how this works in Germany is available at

Other professional organizations have also developed projects on the professional card. Notably AEEBC (the association of European building surveyors and construction experts) has sought to introduce a card (EurBE) based on their own common platform. It is understood that they also have been trying to trial this project on a national basis but that there have been some delays in its implementation due to practical difficulties.

Another example is the HPro Card for health professionals, which features two sides, national and harmonized European giving the contact details of the competent authorities in the country of origin. The card has to provide information on the profession, the logo of the competent authority, the name and contact details of the competent authority, a signature area and a security hologram containing the letters of the country of origin.

CEPI calls on the European Union to capitalize as much as possible on existing experiences and results gained by professional associations and other stakeholders.