Agreement reached on the modernisation of the Professional Qualifications Directive

On 12 June agreement was reached between the European Parliament and the Council on the modernisation of the Professional Qualifications Directive. The mobility of professional services is important in the real estate sector which is experiencing increasing levels of cross-border activity. From the outset of discussions on the modernisation CEPI has supported the introduction of the European professional card which will represent a significant improvement in procedures for the recognition of qualifications for those professions able to use it.

CEPI has also long supported another innovation of the modernisation of the Directive in the introduction of common training principles leading to automatic recognition of qualifications. Therefore CEPI welcomes the confirmation that both of these innovations will feature in the final text which has to be formally confirmed by both the Parliament and the Council before entering into legislation.

The main elements of the modernised Directive are:

1. The introduction of a European professional card on a voluntary basis. The card will take the form of an electronic certificate which will be linked to the existing Internal Market Information System. It will cover both the temporary provision of services in another country and permanent establishment.
2. Better access to information through the existing Points of Single Contact in each Member State together with the possibility to complete recognition procedures online.
3. The modernisation of the minimum training requirements for the professions benefiting from automatic recognition (doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, pharmacists, veterinary surgeons and architects).
4. The creation of an alert mechanism informing competent authorities about a professional exercising activity related to patient safety or the education of minors who has been prohibited from exercising his professional activity or who made use of falsified documents.
5. The introduction of common training principles in the form of common training frameworks or common training tests. A common training framework should be based on a common set of knowledge, skills and competence necessary to pursue a profession. Qualifications obtained under such frameworks should be recognised automatically in other participating Member States.
6. A mutual evaluation exercise on regulated professions which will require Member States to provide a list of their regulated professions and the activities reserved for them and justify the need for regulation.
7. Rules on partial access to a regulated profession.
8. The extension of the Directive to trainees.
9. The clarification of the scope of the Directive which will not apply to notaries appointed by an official act of government.
10. Rules on language skills which can be checked only after the recognition of a qualification in cases of serious and concrete doubt (unless the profession is one with implications for patient safety).

It will now be important to progress the implementation into practice of both the European professional card and the common training principles for those professions which are interested.