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Delay for European Professional Card for Engineers

After the call for interest, the meetings of the EPC Focus Group, several expert meetings and a first view of the results of the recently closed public consultation on the European Professional Card the European Commission has presented its further approach to the National Coordinators of the Professional Qualifications Directive on 5th and 17th June 2014. According to this the Commission intend to proceed in two phases. The five professions for which the establishment of the European Professional Card is planned for January 2016 already are nurses responsible for general care, pharmacists, physiotherapists, mountain guides and real estate agents.  For doctors, engineers, specialised nurses and specialised pharmacists, the European Professional Card could be introduced in a second phase by 18 January 2018. This would mean that the EPC would be available for Engineers two years later than expected. The Commission obviously perceives the discussion about the establishment of the Professional Card for Engineers still controversial as – contrary to the clear support from Engineering organisations like the ECEC - for example Engineering schools in France, Poland and Germany have expressed that they see the EPC for Engineers as unnecessary complication for Engineers’ mobility.

Transparency and/or professional deregulation?

Another very important aspect of the Professional Qualifications Directive is the currently ongoing Transparency Exercise which is based on Article 59 of the Professional Qualifications Directive and forces the EU Member States to justify and reconsider their national professional regulations.

The publication of an interactive map was also  an important element of the procedure. It contains the most important information about the regulation of professions on national level as for example the number of regulated professions, the economic sectors, the development of professional recognition as well as the contact points for professional recognition.
At the moment the Member states are working on sectoral reports and argumentations for the justification and proportionality of national regulations for certain professions (among them architects and civil engineers).
The necessity and proportionality of national regulations for the professions of Architects (afternoon) and Civil Engineers (morning) will be scrutinized by the European Commission  in a peer review/mutual evaluation discussion on 30 September 2014.  The national coordinators for the Professional Qualifications Directive  - who are the competent bodies to participate in these cluster meetings - are allowed to take national professional experts with them.  The first cluster meeting for the national professional regulations of driving instructors and real estate agents that took place on 6 June 2014 has already shown, that they are making use of it.
Therefore all ECEC member organisations are recommended to get in contact with their national coordinators in order to coordinate the national reports and justifications as well as the participation in the meeting on 30 September 2014.

EC Recommendations on how to boost growth

The European Commission published this year’s country-specific recommendations on 2 June 2014. The recommendations of the European Commission to the Member States are based on an assessment of every Member State's plans for sound public finances (Stability or Convergence Programmes, or SCPs) and policy measures to boost growth and jobs (National Reform Programmes, or NRPs). In several countries there is again a focus on abolishing restriction in regard to regulated professions (e.g. Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia). In this regard the European Commission puts a lot of hopes in the currently ongoing “Transparency Exercise” which is based on Art. 59 of the new Professional Qualifications Directive and requires that all Member states not only report their national professional regulations but also explain their necessity and justify their existence.   The recommendations are based on the Commission's assessment of progress made on last year's recommendations, on the medium-term budget and reform plans submitted by Member States in April and on the priorities discussed and agreed on the basis of the Annual Growth Survey. Informal discussions have been going on between the Commission and the Member States throughout the year. The Council is expected to follow the recommendations and proposals of the Commission or explain its position in public. The country-specific recommendations are -  after discussions by EU leaders and EU ministers - adopted by  the EU's Council of Finance Ministers in July 2014. For more details see:  ec.europa.eu/europe2020/making-it-happen/country-specific-recommendations/index_en.htm

National implementation of Public Procurement Directives

The national implementation of the modernized Public Procurement Directives that have been published in February 2014 is currently prepared in many Member States.  Therefore we would like to draw your attention to a paper that was published by the European Federation of Engineering Consultancy Associations (EFCA), one of ECEC’s partners in organising the 2nd European Engineers Day. The paper contains ideas and recommendations that can be helpful  for the dialogue between Engineering organisation and national competent authorities for the implementation process. ECEC Secretary General Klaus Thürriedl was one of the participants of the EFCA Committee that has drafted the paper.
The ECEC will continue to report about this topic. Comments and information on national situations from the Member organisations are welcome.