Implementation of the Professional Qualifications Directive - Presentation of the Working document and exchange of views

Procedure: Own-initiative report

Rapporteur: Emma McClarkin (ECR, UK)

Documents: Working document / Legsilative observatory


July 27 2011: Deadline for amendments

October 17 2011: Vote in IMCO

November 14 2011: Plenary sitting (tbc)

The European parliament’s IMCO committee held an exchange of views on the working document on the Implementation of the Professional Qualifications Directive on July 12 2011. Please see below for details.

Emma McClarkin (ECR, UK) said it is about reacting to the commission's green paper on the modernisation of the regime for the recognition of qualifications. This is an initial document, for which the rapporteur has attended commission expert groups on various aspects of the directive. She said it is essential to ensure that all interesting parties are taken on board, to work more effectively. This is an overview of the current situation where work is most needed. She said she was keen to hear views on this.

In 2005 mobility was facilitated for mutual recognition. The purpose remains fourfold. Mobility will be enhanced and we will have transparent recognition procedures. A high level of service quality will be maintained. Some 371 responses have been received from professional bodies and citizens. The aim is to speed up the process of recognition. The rapporteur was calling for changes to the existing provisions. Considering that some 1,000 agencies and bodies are involved in the implementation, the task has been arduous, with a number of member states failing to register information. There is a high level of dissatisfaction. The SOLVIT system receives most complaints on the recognition of professional qualifications. Most complaints have to do with the lack of visibility or administrative hurdles or the lack of explanation of why an application has  been rejected. There is a lack of trust in the system which is in place. It must be considered whether single points of contact can address concerns of access to the public. One neds to find out what documents are needed and which authorities applicants have to speak to. The aim is to provide greater transparency. The commission considers the use of delegated acts for updating the directive sufficient. The parliament should ensure it is given proper oversight! Specific areas are given attention, such as the  idea of a professional card. There are a number of sectoral projects going to that effect, such as in the engineering profession. Professional cards can enhance transparency. It would be a tool for mobility. However, there are many questions regarding costs and reliability and there is a need for an  impact assessment. The introduction of a scheme must be voluntary. It should be tailored to individual professions and would need to consider a number of questions, such as costs and what information the card would contain.

An IT system would be maintained to validate the card and that could be linked to the internal market information system (IMI) for sharing information. An extension of this system should be explored. Serious cases of misconduct with regard to health professions should be reported. Professional mobility has to be ensured with regard to public safety. The concept of a partial act is to facilitate movement. Control is in practice more complicated. There have to be a more flexible regimes for providing short-term benefits. Temporary mobility could lead to forum shopping. Member states are not approaching the system in a consistent manner. However, the question of languages to be used in the system has to be discussed. As for ensuring public health and safety, there is a lack of clarity in the directive over what measures have to be taken. The testing of the system is a legitimate concern. The issue of the existing code of conduct must be addressed. It must be ensured that the system is not a blanket barrier to mobility. It must be ensured that it is legally clear in terms of consumer protection and patient safety.

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