Directive “Qualifications”: Public Hearing of the European Commission on the consultation ending 15/03/2011.
The European Commission organised on Monday 21 February, a public hearing in part of the revision process of the Directive 2005/36/EC on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications.
Managed by DG MARKT, the event was intended to link the stakeholders (including CEPLIS) and the European Commission for a first exchange of views and clarifications on issues raised by the text of the Public Consultation, published by the same DG, on February 7, 2011.
The public hearing was divided in four parts.
The first part included four speakers discussing problems often faced by European citizens could meet in the framework of the Directive.
• The first speaker was Mr. Antoine Fobe (expert for “Your Europe Advice” and author of “The mobility of Professionals in Practice”). He has described in general the problems related to the recognition of professional qualifications, CEPLIS Telegram N°03/11 of 11/02/2011 1 highlighting the lack of information and assistance to citizens who seek recognition of their qualifications, as well as the non-respect of the provisions of the current Directive by several Member States. The expert proposed to improve access and exchange of information and to consolidate the existing rules in order to ensure their respect by the Member States.
• Then Ms. Kitty Wigleven, Evaluator for the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Eduation (Nuffic), explained the role and functioning of National Contact Point in the Netherlands. The main tasks of this Body are firstly to provide information to citizens and other National Contact Points on the legislation in force in the Member State in question and to provide guidance to citizens on administrative procedures required. Finally, the National Contact Point may transmit information to the European Commission upon request.
• Ms. Mafalda De Siqueira, a member of the SOLVIT network, took the floor to explain the objectives of this network. Its aim is to resolve problems related to incorrect application of EU legislation by national, regional or local administrations.
• Finally, Mr. Florent Tournament presented the views of the French Point of Single Contact on the Directive in question.
The second part foncused on the vision of Member States regarding the current text of the Directive. Four speakers have expressed their views:
• M. Michal Janeba, Minister of Regional Development of the Czech Republic. During his speech, the Minister addressed issues relating to the profession of tour guide and he has also expressed his support to the project of professional cards.
• Mr. Andrew Van der Lem, from the Department for “Business Innovation & Skills” of the United Kingdom, discussed the advantage of the Directive in question for his country. He ponted out that the role of professionals for the UK economy is vital and growing day by day, stressing that the single market is an excellent means to ensure economic growth.
• Mr. Miguel Fernandez Diez, from the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance of Spain, emphasized the importance of professional mobility for the European economy. He felt that there are currently too many regulated professions and this constitutes barrier to the mobility of professionals. According to him, action must be taken to streamline the number of regulated professions. Mr. Fernandez Diez proposed a set of objective criteria that would limit the number of professions.
The third part was dedicated to the professionals concerned by the Directive. Three representatives of professional organizations have adressed the participants.
• Mr. Lars Bytoft, President of the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI – member of CEPLIS), presented his organisation’s position on professional cards and their future features, based on the project “Engineering Card” .
• Mr. Frans AJ Burgering, from the European Council of Real Estate Professions, supported the proposal for a European professional card as a means for a faster and easier recognition of qualifications. His organization is in favor of the characteristics proposed by the European Commission in its consultation document regarding these cards. He also noted the failure of common platforms and enthusiastically welcomed the Commission’s proposal of a new system, the “European Curriculum”. CEPI has in fact already worked on a kind of 28th regime for real estate professionals (EUREDUC).
• Mr. Anton Bauch, member of the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME), spoke in favor of the introduction of cards, feeling that it is a step on the right direction. He highlighted the characteristics that it he thought these cards should include. He has also noted that common platforms have failed.
The fourth part gave the opportunity to representatives of a numbre of “sectoral” professions to express their views.
• Mr. Roger Thomson, Director of Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC-UK – a correspondent organization of CEPLIS), presented his views on the automatic recognition of qualifications insisting on the issues of minimum training Requirements.
• Mr. Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME), presented the challenges that his profession could face with the new Directive, stressing the importance of trust between different actors, as a key factor for a successful implementation of the Directive. During his speech, he presented his organization’s responses to questions 22, 23, 24, 28 and 30 of the consultation.
• Prof. Robert Nicodemus, from the National Council of the College of Physicians (CNOM), outlined the views of his organization on the automatic recognition of qualifications and on Continous Professional Development (CPD). He welcomed the establishment of a system control skills by the competent authorities. He also spoke in favor of an alarm mechanism between competent authorities if they are confronted with fraudulent or false documents.
• Ms. Lesley Wilson, from the European University Association (EUA), presented the possibilities of her organization to support the implementation of the Directive. In fact, the EUA seems to offer a favorable environment for the establishment of the 28th regime, ensuring CPD, language learning, etc.
• Prof. James Horan, from the School of Architecture of Dublin (Ireland), presented the school’s perspective on the Directive, bringing in some ideas for improvement.
• Ms. Argyro Kavadella, from the Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE), expressed the opinion of her organization on the current debate on the modernization of the Directive relating the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications.