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2017/2073(INI) - 18/01/2018 Text adopted by Parliament, single reading

The European Parliament adopted by 490 votes to 54, with 38 abstentions, a resolution on the implementation of Directive 2005/36/EC on the implementation of Directive 2005/36/EC as regards regulation and the need for reform in professional services.

Background: Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the recognition of professional qualifications provides for automatic recognition for a number of professions on the basis of harmonised minimum training requirements, a general system for the recognition of professional qualifications, an automatic recognition system for professional experience, and a new system of cross border provision of services in the context of regulated professions.

In 2013, Directive 2013/55/EU, amending Directive 2005/36/EC introduced in its Article 59 a transparency and mutual evaluation exercise for all regulated professions in the Member States, whether they are regulated on the basis of national rules or on the basis of rules harmonised at EU level.

According to Article 59 of Directive 2005/36/EC the Commission was expected to present by 18 January 2017 its conclusions on the mutual evaluation exercise, together with proposals for further initiatives where necessary.

On 10 January 2017, the Commission presented a communication on reform needs in professional services, analysing professional regulation in seven sectors of activity and addressing recommendations to Member States in this regard.

Review of the implementation of Article 59 of Directive 2005/36/EC: there are more than 5 500 regulated professions across the EU, representing 22% of the workforce in all sectors.

Parliament stressed that regulated professions play a fundamental role in the EU economy, making a major contribution to the employment rate, as well as to labour mobility and added value in the Union. It stressed the paramount importance of high-quality professional services and an effective regulatory environment in preserving the EU economic, social and cultural model and in safeguarding legitimate public interest objectives.

Members stressed in particular the need to improve the transparency and comparability of the national requirements governing access to or pursuit of regulated professions could enable greater professional mobility. Also, all national requirements should be made available to the public in the Regulated Professions Database in a clear and intelligible manner.

The Commission is invited to:

  • improve the database for regulated professions;
  • improve the comparability of different professions;
  • define a common set of activities for each profession notified in the database, with a view to facilitating voluntary harmonisation across the EU.

Member States are invited to:

  • fully implement Article 59 of Directive 2005/36/EC and to step up their efforts to guarantee more transparency of their professional regulations;
  • involve all stakeholders in the future, not only with a view to preparing national action plans, but also in advance of the reform of the regulation of the professions, to allow them to express their opinions;
  • adapt their regulation of professions in line with the specific reform recommendations contained in the Commission Communication of 10 January 2017.

The Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, should take measures and initiate infringement procedures where it identifies discriminatory, unjustified or disproportionate legislation.

Restrictiveness indicator: the Commission has issued a new indicator on the restrictiveness of professional regulation. The resolution analysed the usefulness of this indicator and the need to promote high quality services in Europe. It emphasised that this indicator should be used as a purely indicative tool, and not as one permitting the drawing of conclusions as to whether what may be stricter regulation in some Member States is disproportionate.

In addition, Members recalled that the overall analysis of the impact of the regulations in Member States should be subject not only to a quantitative but also to a qualitative assessment encompassing the general interest objectives and the quality of the service provided, including the possible indirect benefits for citizens and the labour market.

Future of regulated professions: Parliament stressed the need for an effective regulatory framework in the Union and the Member States, but also for effective and coordinated policies aimed at supporting professionals in the EU and strengthening competitiveness, innovation capacity and the quality of professional services in the EU. Members States shall undertake proper market analysis with a view to developing policies for making EU professional services globally competitive in future decades.

Members also stressed the importance of education, skills development and entrepreneurial training so that European professionals may remain competitive and be able to cope with the changes affecting the liberal professions as a result of innovation, digitalisation and globalisation.

In this respect, they welcomed the Commission’s acknowledgement of the need to reflect on the impact of new technologies in the field of professional services, particularly in the legal and accounting sectors where procedures could be improved.

The Commission is called on to continue to keep Parliament regularly informed on the state of play regarding compliance with Directive 2005/36/EC by the Member States.