CEPI meets… Emma McClarkin MEP

This summer, CEPI conducted an interview with a British member of the European Parliament, Ms Emma McClarkin (European Conservatives and Reformists), in the framework of the current proposal for a modernisation of the Directive Recognition of Professional Qualifications, to know what are the European Parliament’s main priorities in this area.

As rapporteur on the proposal, Ms McClarkin believes that the key priorities are the ones that have been outlined by the Commission and during the public consultation: specific administrative problems, including the lack of visibility of competent authorities, professionals not knowing which documents to submit, and a lack of explanation by the competent authority for rejection of recognition. The system in place does not seem to be trusted, and she emphasized the fact that confidence must be stimulated on all sides (authorities, Members States and professionals). There is an urgent need of modernisation, with the cooperation of the relevant professional bodies. Regarding the professional card, she argues for “a thorough, evidence based impact assessment of what the added value of a professional card could be”. In her opinion, those cards should “be tailored to individual professions, and provide a degree of flexibility for regulators in terms of implementation”. Ms McClarkin praises the IMI system as a useful and efficient information sharing tool between competent authorities, and calls for its extension to improve cooperation. She then raises some issues as regards temporary mobility and lighter access systems, which could reveal threatening. Finally, she added that the language question also needs to be carefully addressed, possibly by testing some professionals (in relation to public health and safety) on a case by case basis, but also ensuring that “testing is proportionate and is not a blanket barrier to mobility”.

We then asked Ms McClarkin her opinion about the question of regulating certain professions in a more proportionate way; obviously this raises concerns about how professional standards can be maintained and how consumers can be protected. The property professions are semi-regulated, being strongly regulated in some countries and in others not at all. In those countries where regulation has been introduced it is largely with the objective of achieving greater consumer protection. We wanted to know how she would reconcile these aims. She said that it is a delicate balancing act but one that should be addressed: “we would not want to see any situation where deregulation unnecessarily jeopardised consumer and patient safety, but we also must try to ensure that mobility for professionals is enhanced”.

The other questions concerned continuous professional development (CPD) and the detailed features of a professional card for property professionals. Ms McClarkin emphasises that information on CPD should also be shared by competent authorities. Concerning professional cards, she notably believes that they should be tailored to professions, and leave regulators some flexibility as regards their implementation.

Read the full interview