National and EU parliamentarians discussed ways to improve the recognition of professional qualifications at an inter-parliamentary committee meeting. The current Directive (2005/36/EC) on this issue came into force in 2007 and is due to be reviewed. The meeting took place in Brussels on 26 October.
The first session of the meeting provided an overview of the current situation, while the second one focused on the recommendations by professional associations. A debate between Members of the European Parliament and national Parliaments took place at the end of both sessions.
The European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Mr Michel Barnier, intervened at the meeting.
EU rules on the recognition of professional qualifications include:
· harmonisation of training requirements which allow for automatic recognition of professional qualifications and which are mainly in the health sector (doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, veterinary surgeons, pharmacists and architects); further information can be found on the pages "specific sectors"
· mutual recognition which applies to all the professions for which Member States require a qualification, with the exception of the professions mentioned in the previous indent; more information is available on the pages "general system"
· automatic recognition of professional experience for professions of craft, commerce and industry sectors
· rules applying to lawyers concerning the provision of services and the establishment under the title of country of origin
· recognition of qualifications concerning activities in the fields of commerce and the distribution of toxic substances
· coordination of the laws of the Member States relating to self-employed commercial agents which harmonizes civil law on the relationship between agent and principal (directive 86/653/EEC).
Directive 2005/36/EC does not cover the recognition rules applicable to lawyers, activities in the field of toxic substances and commercial agents.