In 2015, Erasmus+ enabled 678,000 Europeans to study, train, work and volunteer abroad, more than ever before. In the same year, the EU invested €2.1 billion in over 19,600 projects involving 69,000 organisations. These are the main findings of the Erasmus+ Annual Report for 2015 published by the European Commission yesterday…..(see Commission press release, 26 January 2017).
Training material on the following topics is ready for use by legal practitioners and/or training providers:
See also the European e-Justice portal.
The European Commission published today the 2017 EU Citizenship Report ‘Strengthening Citizens’ Rights in a Union of Democratic Change’.
The section on “Increasing opportunities for students, trainees, teachers and other workers” states, inter alia:
“The work done in 2016 to roll out the New Skills Agenda for Europe with the Members States will promote skills development and matching, and support better recognition of qualifications: this will contribute to removing obstacles for workers, students and trainees in the EU. Public consultations have suggested that Europeans consider that a platform hosting cross-border placements or offers for apprenticeships and trainees would further help young people looking for opportunities beyond (or prior to) employment. The mobility of teachers across borders can benefit learners and teachers alike, who could share good practices with their peers. Another way to benefit learners is to give them the opportunity to attend seminars with staff invited from companies from other countries. (…)
Professional qualifications is another area where modernised rules will increase opportunities for EU citizens. At least 21% of the labour force in the EU (50 million people) works in a regulated profession. Over 20,000 persons with a professional qualification from an EU Member State had their professional qualifications recognised in another EU country in 2014. In addition, professionals from five professions86 have since January 2016 been able to pursue their professions more freely in other EU countries thanks to the first EU-wide electronic procedure for the recognition of professional qualifications (European Professional Card). The card simplifies professional qualification recognition procedures in other EU countries.”
See speech of President Juncker at the Annual Reception of the Academy of European Law (ERA) on 19 January 2017.
Malta has officially taken over the EU’s rotating presidency on 1 January 2017.
Education is amongst the priorities of the Maltese Presidency:
“The Maltese Presidency will focus on the relevance of achieving a High Quality Education for all through ‘Inclusion in Diversity’ with a view to draw up Council conclusions on this theme. The quality and relevance of education should be linked to the requirements of the labour market and directed towards the provision of relevant skills, aptitudes and life-long values required to become active citizens. In this context, education systems should be more inclusive and capable of moving away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to one that is just, flexible, diversified and comprehensive. In this regard, focus will be placed on inclusiveness as a primary element for effective education mechanisms to ensure long-term effectiveness and quality retention, whilst concurrently taking into account the relevance, function and incorporation of digital skills.
The Maltese Presidency will also strive to make progress on the New Skills Agenda for Europe, the Proposal for a Council Recommendation on the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning, and the Proposal for a Decision on Europass.”
Today, the European Commission has published a Services Package which is aimed at making “it easier for companies and professionals to provide services to a potential customer base of 500 million people in the EU”.
Amongst others, the package contains a Communication which provides “Guidance for national reforms in regulation of professions”.
The section on lawyers contains, inter alia, information on the training of lawyers and some recommendations:
“In view of their particular role, the rules on the access to and the pursuit of the legal profession are among the most stringent in the business services sector. In terms of qualification, higher education is required in the large majority of Member States (a law degree being compulsory), followed by a mandatory traineeship and/or additional professional experience and bar examination. The total duration of the training varies between 3 years (Ireland) and 9 years (Slovenia). It appears, however, that in some Member States (Greece, Italy), training and experience obtained abroad are not duly taken into account when allowing access to legal traineeships for lawyers. Recently, Spain introduced new rules on the qualification of lawyers, but clarity is lacking regarding the registration of graduates who started their studies before the reform entered into force.
Mandatory continuous professional development is provided for in most Member States, except for the Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain where it is voluntary. Despite the extensive case-law on recognition of qualifications, mutual recognition of lawyers’ cross-border continuing professional development appears to be problematic, especially for lawyers wishing to benefit from the rights granted to them under the two Lawyers’ Directives.”
In the Recommendations part, the Commission specifically refers to Greece and Italy:
“Greece and Italy should ensure that training and experience obtained abroad are duly taken into account so that lawyers can access legal traineeships in line with Case C-313/01.”
The European Commission is also proposing to streamline and clarify how Member States should undertake a comprehensive and transparent proportionality test before adopting or amending national rules on professional services. According to the proposals, the competent authorities shall consider in particular: (…) the link between the complexity of the tasks and the necessary possession of specific professional qualifications, in particular as regards the level, the nature and the duration of the training or experience required, as well as the existence of different routes to obtain the professional qualification; (…).
For more information, see:
Commission Press Release of 10/01/2017
Commission Communication on reform recommendations for regulation in professional services
Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication
Last December, the European Commission published its fifth report on training for legal practitioners. As far as lawyers are concerned, the Report notes, inter alia:
- In 2015, more than 124 000 legal practitioners (judges, prosecutors, court staff, lawyers, bailiffs and notaries) as well as trainees of these professional groups took part in training activities on EU law or on the national law of another Member State.
- The ratio of practitioners participating in continuous training activities on EU law and on judicial systems of another Member State to all existing practitioners per profession is approximately: (…) 5 % (37 337) of all lawyers in private practice in the respondent Member States; (…)
- The numbers regarding the training of lawyers per Member State often offer only a partial picture: private training providers not connected to the Bar seldom contributed with data, although in some Member States lawyers rely on them in significant numbers. Sometimes, data have been available only for certain regions of a Member State or a certain type of lawyer.
- According to the available data, this target [5% = minimum needed per year to reach the 2020 target of training half of the practitioners on EU law] is currently reached only for a minority of Member States.
The ‘Advice for Training Providers’, which was published by the European Commission last year, is now available in all EU languages, click here. The Advice contains a collection of practical tips with examples for all training providers that can be of help when conceiving and organizing their training activities.
The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice – CEPEJ – recently published its third report on ‘European judicial systems – Efficiency and quality of justice’ which covers data gathered in 2014. The report also includes a section on lawyers (see page 158 and following). It contains information on the number of lawyers (per inhabitants) and lawyers’ monopoly on legal representation. For the first time, CEPEJ provides public access to the CEPEJ database – CEPEJ STAT – which contains (amongst others) country-specific data relating to lawyers, including brief information on the training of lawyers, see below for instance:
A demonstration video shows how to use CEPEJ-STAT.
(1) National proceedings prior to the submission of a case to the European Court of Human Rights
(2) Proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights
(3) Content and execution of judgments of the Court in cases of individual applications – Appeals against such judgments
(4) Practical tips on procedure when lodging an application
The CCBE has also developed Practice Guidances for lawyers appearing before the Court of Justice of the European Union (see CCBE website).
Following the principle of subsidiarity, higher education policies in Europe are essentially decided at the level of the individual EU Member States. Therefore, the role of the EU — as in education, vocational training, youth and sport policies in general — is mainly in a supporting and partly coordinating capacity….click here to read the full Fact Sheet.