Professional Qualifications : Debates in the Parliament

On 31 August the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) of the European Parliament discussed a draft report on the implementation of the Professional Qualifications Directive by rapporteur Emma McClarkin MEP (ECR). CEPI is particularly pleased that the report calls upon the Commission to clarify the concept of common platform which have clearly demonstrate they do not work, and asks the Parliament to look carefully at the best way in which European professional cards can be developed.

The report follows up on work carried out by the Parliament on professional qualifications over a period of time and refers to the Green Paper published by the European Commission on the modernisation of the Directive published 22 June 2011. It also takes account of the responses to the earlier public consultation this year on the evaluation of the Directive.

The report calls for simplification of the recognition process which is seen as being cumbersome and time-consuming for both competent authorities and professionals, and encourages the use of modern communication technologies to improve access to information and transparency. It also stresses that the compensation measures required in the case of significant differences between the levels of qualifications when considering the applications of those professionals who, like estate agents and property managers, fall within the general system established by the Directive and so have to have their applications dealt with on a case by case basis, can sometimes be applied in a disproportionate manner.

As well as encouraging the updating of existing provisions the report encourages the integrating of professionals and the injecting of confidence into the system. It does so by calling for further use of the Internal Market Information system (IMI) by competent authorities and for greater mobility on the part of recent graduates. CEPI particularly welcomes the fact that it highlights that the concept of common platforms, as set out in Article 15 of the Directive, has not worked and calls upon the Commission to clarify the concept in a revised article.

The report considers that a voluntary professional card, linked to an electronic database such as the IMI, could be a useful aid to mobility subject to certain conditions and safeguards. It also calls on the Commission to provide evidence by way of a thorough impact assessment, of the possible added value for the recognition process for certain professions. CEPI is very interested in the introduction of such a card for real estate professionals which must be of real added value to them and encourages the Parliament and the Commission to look carefully at the best way in which this can be achieved.

The report is scheduled for adoption by the IMCO Committee on 17 October and is expected to be the subject of a vote in a plenary session of the Parliament on 14 November. Read the full report.