European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs – The Implementation of the Professional Qualifications Directive 2005/36/EC

Source: European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

Procedure: Own-initiative report

Draftsperson: Milan Cabrnoch (ECR, CZ)

Lead committee:  IMCO Emma Mcclarkin (ECR, UK)

Documents: Draft opinion / Legislative Observatory


  • Deadline for tabling amendments: 23 August 2011
  • Consideration of amendments: 8 September 2011
  • Adoption in committee: 19 September 2011

 On 13 July 2011, the committee on employment and social affairs discussed the report on the implementation of the Professional Qualifications Directive 2005/36/EC. Please find below a summary of the debate.

Roger Helmer (ECR, UK) noted that he is replacing his colleague Milan Cabrnoch in today’s session as he cannot be in Brussels due to important commitments in his home country. He said that there are no major problems with the report as it currently stands in the committee on internal market and consumer protection. He further elaborated on issues which are important to MEP Cabrnoch such as the free movement for workers and person as one of the key benefits of European integration. He therefore supports all initiatives that facilitate cross-border movement and enhance economic growth. He recognized the need of modernising the previous directive. According to MEP Cabrnoch, the number of regulated profession should be reduced and special attention should be given to innovative sectors and digital industries.

Mr Cabrnoch also called upon the Commission to come up with an internal market instrument, the IMI which is easily accessible but safeguards data protection. Furthermore MEP Cabrnoch would like to see the automatic recognition of qualifications facilitated. An obligatory register should be necessary which is accessible to all relevant public authorities. To that regard MEP Helmer mentioned an example in the UK where a doctor without license worked even though German authorities knew about his fraud at an earlier stage already.
MEP Cabrnoch calls for a more pragmatic approach to language test meaning that registration should be possible without proper language proof. However employers should have the right to require such a proof prior to an offer. He also strives for a general simplification of administrative processes for an attempt to reduce costs. MEP Helmer added the expectation of not having contentious debates about this report.

Danuta Jazlowiecka (EPP, PL) said that the cross-border movement of workforce needs to be strengthened especially now with the current economic crisis in order to meet the demands on the labour market. She mentioned that not more than 2 per cent of the EU citizens benefit from this privilege of free movement which is why she stressed the need to promote initiative for cross border movement. She thanked the rapporteur for this excellent report. She also called for simplifying procedures increasing the automatic recognition of qualification. To her this should be the main objective of the review of this directive. She said that the cooperation between member states on the recognition of qualification needs to be strengthened and that direct exchange of information within the internal market and between member states needs to be supported. She further mentioned that it is necessary to monitor and update the minimum requirements for professions like physician, dentist, nurse and to allow updates in degrees and qualifications. She noted the difficulties member states are encountering in interpreting article 11 of the directive. Therefore the article needs to be amended in order to clarify the question of qualification levels. Additionally an updated list of the regulated professions is appropriate. She concluded in calling for ideas about the concept of a common platform in order to facilitate the recognition of qualifications.

Jutta Steinruck (S&D, DE) said that this is a very important tool for integration in the European labour market. However many member states have not implemented it yet. Although recognition is still a problem she said that the draft report is a good starting point. She stated that some issues need to be added to the report such as the involvement of the social partners as well as worker’s organisations. She called for slim lining the procedure and designing a transparent recognition of qualifications. To her a national contact point for where citizens could get information is essential. She further said that in general existing initiatives need to be considered such as the Bologna process, the European qualification framework and the EU recommendation on formal and informal learning. She finished in stressing the importance of not leaving anybody behind in this directive.

Emilie Turunen (Greens/ EFA, DK) commented on the report in the committee for internal market and consumer protection where she is a member of. To this regard she said that the topic entails a lot of employment issues which is why the debate is important. She wondered whether it would be possible to have a common debate with the other committee due to the cross-cutting topic. She expressed her full support for paragraph 2 but would also like to see an additional provision in it which balances the objectives and the member states competences in adding legislation themselves. Further she noted that training done in other member states needs to be dealt with as well. She finally called upon the participants to comment on the professional card which was mentioned in the Commission’s green paper and also to ensure that a good system for this card is in place.

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