Professional services: How does regulation matter?

September 13th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


On 9 November 2017, the European Commission will organise a conference on ‘Professional services: How does regulation matter?’ (which will take place in Brussels).

Stakeholders (including national authorities, professional, and consumer organisations) will have the opportunity to discuss initiatives under the Services Package that are related to professional services, i.e. a legislative proposal for a proportionality test and a Communication on reform recommendations in regulated professions.

The conference programme can be downloaded. More details on the conference, including registration, can be obtained here.

For more information on the Services Package, please see the relevant posts on the Training Blog.

EP: ‘Implementation in Action’ briefing on the Professional Qualifications Directive

August 31st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


The briefing – which covers the history of EU regulation of professions, application of Article 59 of the Professional Qualifications Directive, and the restrictiveness indicator used by the European Commission – can be downloaded here.

Draft report by MEP Danti on the need for professional reforms

July 27th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Nicola DANTI - 8th Parliamentary term

Nicola DANTI – 8th Parliamentary term

Further to the workshop on 11 July 2017, MEP Nicola Danti has now published his draft report on ‘on the implementation of Directive 2005/36/EC as regards regulation and the need for reform in professional services’.

The draft report recognises the fundamental role played by regulated professions in the EU and the importance of quality services. It asks, amongst others, for better comparability of the level of professional qualifications.

Major points of the draft resolution include:

1. Stresses that regulated professions play a fundamental role in the EU economy, representing a significant part of the occupation rate as well as an important share of the added value in the Union; believes, furthermore, that the quality of professional services is of paramount importance for preserving the EU economic, social and cultural model;

3. Believes that the Commission communication of 10 January 2017 might help Member States to better regulate professional services; stresses, however, that elements beyond mere economic analysis are needed for a holistic assessment of the performance of the regulatory environment in each Member State;

8. Acknowledges that some Member States did not consult the relevant stakeholders in an appropriate manner while preparing the NAPs; calls for a broader involvement of all interested parties in the future;

11. Recognises the role of professional regulation in achieving a high level of protection of public interest objectives, such as the protection of consumers, (…) the safeguarding of the proper administration of justice, (…) acknowledges the margin of appreciation of Member States in determining the ways to achieve this;

12. Notes that profession-specific regulations pursuing objectives in the public interest aim to ensure effective supervision of the lawful practice of the regulated profession, and of its deontological rules where relevant;

13. Points out that better comparability of the level of professional qualifications is needed in order to increase the homogeneity of the evidence of formal qualifications across the European Union and to create a level playing field for young Europeans entering the professions, as well as promote their mobility;

17. Recalls that the 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;

19. Welcomes the acknowledgement by the Commission of the need to reflect on the impact of new technologies on professional services, especially in the legal and accounting sectors; notes in particular that close attention needs to be paid to the consequent risks for service recipients, including consumers, of such a transformational change;

Services Package & Proportionality Test: Council agrees on a General Approach

June 1st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Please click here to read the General Approach concerning the Commission proposed ‘Proportionality Test’ Directive. [The proposed directive sets a common framework for conducting proportionality assessments before introducing new, or amending existing, legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions restricting access to or pursuit of regulated professions.] The parts which are of particular interest  from a ‘training’ perspective have been highlighted by the CCBE in yellow.

The European Parliament has also started work on the proposal. The IMCO committee had a first exchange of views on the proposal on 11 May 2017. Several MEPs, including the rapporteur Andreas Schwab, raised on this occasion the question as to whether there is a need for this proposal – first and foremost, the Commission should seek to strengthen the enforcement of existing legislation. (IMCO timetable: 12/13 July – presentation of draft report; 5 September – deadline for amendements; 28 September – vote of amendments; 21/22 November – vote in the Plenary.)

For more information on the Services Package, please consult the post published on 10 January 2017.

Obstacles to EU citizens’ freedom to move and work in the Internal Market

March 17th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

On 15 March 2017, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on ‘Obstacles to EU citizens’ freedom to move and work in the Internal Market’ (which can be downloaded here). Concerning professional qualifications and continuous professional development, it states that the Parliament:

17.  Is concerned about the difficulties encountered by petitioners in getting their professional qualifications recognised across Europe; calls for further standardisation of academic titles and continuous education diplomas by Member States, systemic use of the Internal Market Information System (IMI) to ensure better administrative cooperation and simpler and faster procedures for the recognition of professional qualifications and of continuous professional development requirements needed by qualified professionals planning to work in another Member State, avoiding any kind of discrimination, in line with the settled case-law of the Court of Justice, while respecting the requirements of the host country in full compliance with Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications;

Regulation of Professions: Preview of the Commission

June 17th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

On 16 June 2016, the European Commission published an inception impact assessment paper on the ‘Regulation of professions: proportionality test’, noting that:

◊ excessive regulatory barriers to professional entry have negative consequences for job creation, productivity, mobility and the consumer;

◊ the ‘mutual evaluation exercise of regulated professions’ – introduced by the Professional Qualifications Directive – evidences broad variations in appreciation of what is proportionate and necessary in the proper pursuit of public interests;

◊ a legally binding instrument represents a comprehensive legislative solution at EU level setting up an EU-wide methodology for assessing the necessity and proportionality of national regulations in the professions. The methodology to be used by Member States when assessing national regulations could cover the following aspects:

  • Identification of the overriding reasons relating to the general interest which justify the measure;
  • Identification and assessment of the nature of the risks to consumers, to professionals or third parties, including in particular whether and why the existing rules (such as consumer protection law) are inadequate to protect the public interest;
  • Assessment of the necessity of requiring possession of specialised skills and training and assess specifically the level, the nature and the duration of the training required as well as the existence of different routes to obtain the qualification;
  • Analysis of the scope of practice and the reserves of activities and assessment of the effects on the public interest objectives pursued;
  • Estimating the economic impact of the proposed regulation including a consideration of market impacts on such variables as e.g. wages, employment, competition and demand;
  • Analysis of the alternatives to regulation or less restrictive regulation (such as protected title, voluntary certification schemes,etc.);
  • Assessment of the cumulative effect of restrictions to both access to and exercise of the professional activities.

The European Commission also issued a Roadmap on the ‘Guidance on reforms needs for Member States in regulation of professions’.

Implementation of the Professional Qualifications Directive

January 18th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Marché interieur

Internal Market

Today, on 18 January 2016, the deadline for Member States to implement the Professional Qualifications Directive 2013/55/EU – which was adopted on 20 November 2013 – expires. Member States will have had to bring into line their laws, regulations and administrative provisions in order to comply with this Directive, which revises Directive 2005/36.

Article 55a of the Professional Qualifications Directive has been of particular concern and interest to the CCBE as it regulates the recognition of professional traineeships carried out in another Member State or in a third country. It provides that professional traineeships required for access to a regulated profession carried out in one Member State must be recognised by a relevant Competent Authority in another Member State. Member States may however “set a reasonable limit on the duration of the part of the professional traineeship which can be carried out abroad”. Furthermore, Article 55a asks competent authorities to “publish guidelines on the organisation and recognition of professional traineeships carried out in another Member State or in a third country, in particular on the role of the supervisor of the professional traineeship”.

The CCBE has started gathering some first information on the implementation of this Article; accordingly:

  • the duration of the traineeship, which may be carried out abroad, varies from 3 months (in the case of Germany) to 19 months (in the case of Austria); on average, the duration of foreign traineeships is between 6 and 12 months; in Finland, Latvia, Romania and England & Wales (solicitors), there is no explicit time restriction;
  • some countries already have guidelines on the organisation and recognition of professional traineeships in place (as they recognized foreign traineeships already before the Directive was adopted), others will be working on the guidelines. For example, the Bar Standards Board in England and Wales barristers published Guidelines in September 2013, which, contain detailed information on the role of the supervisor of the professional traineeship:

– To provide/organise induction for trainees;

– To establish and maintain regular contact with the trainee, ensuring his/her accessibility when advice is needed;

– To provide learning opportunities for the trainee;

– To provide timely, effective and constructive guidance, advice and feedback on the trainee’s work;

– To instil professional ethics and conduct, ensuring that the trainee is aware of the need to exercise probity and conduct him/herself according to ethical principles (and of the implications of misconduct);

– To ensure that compulsory courses are undertaken and passed;

– To act as mentor/advisor/counsellor to trainees (as well as supervisor);

– To perform appraisal of trainees (in addition to feedback) as appropriate in order to monitor the trainee’s overall progress;

– etc.

The CCBE will continue gathering information about the implementation of Article 55a and provide an update in the coming months.

More information on the Professional Qualifications Directive 2013/55/EU is available on DG Growth’s website.

Professional Qualifications

September 8th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink


The revised professional qualifications Directive 2013/55/EU comes into force.

This Directive, which amends the Professional Qualifications Directive 2005/36/EC, should be implemented in all the Member States by January 2016. It contains multiple amendments to the professional qualifications Directive including provisions to facilitate the recognition of cross-border professional traineeships in all Member States, and a European-wide review on restriction on access to practice law.

Useful links:
Text of Directive 2103/55/EU (on Eur-lex)
Commentary on the implications: “professional traineeships”