NEWS

February 2016

DID YOU KNOW?

The European Commission has implemented a system for the recognition of professional qualifications, the European Professional Card (EPC).

EDC News: Free Movement of Professionals in the EU

The European Union (EU) aims to reach the full potential of the services markets in Europe by removing legal and administrative barriers to trade. This involves increasing transparency and simplifying the processes for businesses and consumers to provide or use services in the Single Market. Moreover, it enables professionals in the EU to move across borders and practice their occupation or provide services throughout the EU.

Access to these services is not the only consideration the EU needs to contemplate, it must also consider the quality and who is providing these services. On 24 June 2015, the European Commission (EC) adopted the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/983 on the procedure for issuance of the European Professional Card and the application of the alert mechanism according to the Professional Qualifications Directive. The European Professional Card (EPC) was made available from 18 January 2016. The EPC is not a physical card, it is an electronic procedure for the recognition of professional qualifications between Member States (MS) of the EU. Currently the system focuses on five professions (general care nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, real estate agents and mountain guides) but may be extended to other professions in the future. The EPC does not replace the 'traditional' recognition procedures under the Professional Qualifications Directive, but it does offer an advantageous option for professionals who wish to work either temporarily or permanently in another EU country.

In addition the EPC, the EC has introduced an Alert Mechanism to ensure that EU patients and consumers are adequately protected. This enables authorities of EU countries to quickly warn each other through the IMI of professionals in the health and education of minors sectors who:

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