The Council adopted a review of the Professional Qualifications Directive. The review is aimed at making the system of mutual recognition of professional qualifications more efficient in order to achieve greater mobility of skilled workers across the EU.
The main features of the Directive include the creation of a European professional card; changes to the current system, such as the insertion of the principle of partial access to certain professions and the clarification of training requirements, as well as measures for a better use of existing instruments such as the Internal Market Information (IMI) system.
European professional card
The European professional card will be an electronic certificate issued by the professional's country of departure that will facilitate automatic recognition in the host country (the country where the professional seeks to establish himself).
Transparency of regulated professions
Currently, some 800 categories of regulated professions exist across the 27 EU Member States. A regulated profession means that access to the profession is subject to a person holding a specific qualification, such as a university diploma, and that activities are reserved to holders of such qualifications.
The new Directive, which seeks to reduce the number of regulated professions and to remove unjustified regulatory barriers, provides for a transparency exercise involving an evaluation of the justification of the need for regulation against the principles of necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination.
Under the new rules, the Member States will promote the continuous professional development of professionals who benefit from the automatic recognition of their professional qualification.
Directive 2005/36/EC only applies to professionals who want to pursue the same profession in another Member State. However, there are cases where the activities concerned are part of a profession with a larger scope of activities in the host Member State. If the differences between the fields of activity are so large that in reality a full programme of education and training is required from the professional to compensate for shortcomings and if the professional so requests, a host Member State shall under these circumstances grant partial access.
The existing rules already provide for detailed obligations for Member States to exchange information. These obligations will be reinforced. In future, competent authorities of Member States will have to proactively alert the authorities of other Member States about professionals who are no longer entitled to practice their profession due to a disciplinary action or criminal conviction, through a specific alert mechanism.
Common training principles
While taking into account the competence of Member States to decide on the qualifications required for the pursuit of professions in their territory and on the organisation of their education systems, the development of common training principles will try to better respond to the needs of the professions.
Qualifications obtained under common training frameworks, based on a common set of knowledge, skills and competences or standardised training tests, will automatically be recognised by Member States.
The review clarifies certain provisions of the current rules that already provide for obligations for professionals to have the necessary language skills.
Recognition of traineeships
Given that national rules organising the access to regulated professions should not constitute an obstacle to the mobility of young graduates, when a graduate completes a professional traineeship in another Member State, the traineeship will be recognised when the graduate applies for accessing a regulated profession in the home Member State.
© European Council
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