The 2013/02/11 at 08:27
Marie Luginsland, in Germany
Responding to calls for tenders on the other side of Europe and getting hired without a knot of formalities is still a utopian idea for most European professionals. Many persons confront difficulties in getting their qualifications recognised throughout the European territory. But the situation is soon to change. In the near future, it will be possible for Portuguese national to go and work in Stockholm or a Dutch company to recruit a Czech citizen without any ado, thanks to the European professional card. The European Parliament gave the go ahead, at the end of January, to a draft law envisaging its creation. This professional card will allow all Europeans to easily get around the barrier of having their degrees recognised and authenticated, thanks to an electronic exchange system. For employers, this card will be a gauge of confidence and security as well a considerable lightening of the load of formalities.
Today, out of the 800 professions whose access is restricted by degree and qualification conditions in force in different European countries, only seven benefit from automatic recognition* throughout the European Union. For the other professional categories, all work contracts are tied up with long and fastidious administrative procedures. In this way, in the domains of skilled crafts, trade and industry, degree recognition conditions still differentiate the various Member States. Depending on the country, professional experience from three to six years is required for qualifications to be validated. In other words, the 2005 directive on the recognition of professional qualifications has not followed through on its promises!
Conscious of this obstacle to mobility and employment, the European Parliament’s IMCO (Internal Market and Consumer Protection) Committee is working towards a law to update this directive, making the European professional card its key project. “Ensuring simple and secure mobility for professionals is an important part of relaunching the single market,” declares Bernadette Vergnaud, a European Deputy and IMCO Rapporter who is behind the professional card. She specifies that by introducing the card, the Parliament hopes to “set up a genuine tool for European citizenship”. Indeed, until now, not all professions have undergone the same treatment in different parts of Europe. In this way, France, with 120 regulated professions, is within the European average, while Great Britain regulates 200 professions, and Sweden, only twenty or so!
By bringing guarantees on training and qualifications, the professional skills card will help accelerate the integration of any newcomer on the employment market in his or her host country. At a time when mobility is more of a must than ever in a Europe where 20 % of young people are unemployed, the professional card thus becomes a veritable common passport towards twenty-seven job markets.
And yet, this new freedom also has a flipside. European deputies see this draft law as a European alert system to prevent any person that has been sentenced or is subject to a professional ban, from practising in other European countries. This provision targets doctors, nurses and veterinarians who are the object of disciplinary sanctions in particular. The text thus stipulates that all European Union countries need to be informed about such sentences or disciplinary action within forty-eight hours. Recently, a Dutch doctor banned from practising in his country, managed to get hired subsequently in three German hospitals.
*Architects, doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, veterinarians and midwives