Answers to the Commission’s Green paper on
Modernising the Professional Qualifications Directive
The Commission’s communication COM(2011) 367/3 asks 24 questions. This paper from
the Association of Nordic Engineers (ANE) attempts to answer those that are relevant for
The Association of Nordic Engineers is a close and binding cooperation between the Swedish As-
sociation of Graduate Engineers (www.sverigesingenjorer.se), the Norwegian Society of Engineers
and Technologists (www.nito.no) and the Danish Society of Engineers (www.ida.dk). ANE makes
it possible to speak with one voice on behalf of more than 275.000 engineers in the three Scandi-
navian countries. If you want to know more about ANE please visit the website nordicengi-
Regulation of the engineering profession is very limited in the Nordic countries. The moderniza-
tion of the directive on mutual recognition of qualifications should improve the free movement of
professionals and not create new barriers. The Association of Nordic Engineers therefore calls on
the Commission to create new incentives for Member States to critically consider their present
Another general remark is that the modernized directive should enhance the systems of quality
assurance schemes such as the EUR-ACE. Such systems could to a large extent reduce the need
for procedures recognizing the educational background.
Question 1: Do you have any comments on the respective roles of the competent authorities
in the Member State of departure and the receiving Member State?
The Association of Nordic Engineers (ANE) in general agrees with the description in the green
paper. ANE emphasizes that the roles of both authorities must be based on the most efficient and
least bureaucratic administration using modern technologies whenever practicable.
Question 2: Do you agree that a professional card could have the following effects, depending
on the card holders’ objectives?
a) The card holder moves on a temporary basis (temporary mobility)
- Option 1: The card would make any declaration which Member States can cur-
rently require under Article 7 of the directive redundant.
- Option 2: The declaration regime is maintained but the card could be presented in
place of any accompanying documents.
In general ANE supports the idea of introducing an engineering card. The card should be voluntary
for the holders. The card should not be conceived as a certification of the holder. The objective
shall be to make the procedures for mutual recognition of qualifications more efficient and less
ANE has no problems agreeing to option 2. Option 1 is more tricky but could eventually be appli-
cable in certain cases where there are no particular circumstances to take account for example due
to safety or security reasons.
Association of Nordic Engineers : Kalvebod Brygge 31-33 : DK-1780 København V :
Tlf.: +45 33 18 47 05 : www.noordicengineers.dk : firstname.lastname@example.org
b) The card holder seeks automatic recognition of his qualifications: presentation of the
card would accelerate the recognition procedure (receiving Member State should take
a decision within two weeks instead of three months).
There is no automatic recognition of engineers in the Nordic countries. An automatic recognition
is based on certification of the professionals. ANE is opposed to introducing a card in the moder-
nized directive connected to an automatic recognition.
c) The card holder seeks recognition of his qualifications which are not subject to auto-
matic recognition (the general system): presentation of the card would accelerate the
recognition procedure (receiving Member State would have to take a decision within
one month instead of four months).
ANE fully supports the idea that an engineering card should shorten the recognition procedure.
What is not clear is what should happen if a Member State is unable to keep the procedure below
four months? Would the applicant be entitled to practice his/hers profession? Would it make a dif-
ference if a case is more or less complicated?
Question 3: Do you agree that there would be important advantages to inserting the prin-
ciple of partial access and specific criteria for its application into the Directive?
The principle of partial access is problematic. Full recognition of highly educated academics
should in principle always be the goal. A partial access must not lead to a more restrictive adminis-
tration and procedures. However, ANE will not totally reject the possibility of partial access in
cases where it becomes a short cut to a full recognition at a later stage. A partial access should
only be granted based on specific and transparent criteria and should always be accompanied by a
description of the necessary steps towards a full access. Making a partial access temporary could
be considered. The problem is how to do it in practice. ANE is therefore looking forward to study-
ing the conclusions of the Steering Group set up by the Commission. The Steering Group has de-
cided to look at particular case studies involving selected professions, including engineers.
Question 4: Do you support lowering the current threshold of two-thirds of the Member
States to one-third (i.e. 9 out of 27 Member States) as a condition for the creation of a com-
mon platform? Do you agree on the need for an Internal Market test (based on the propor-
tionality principle) to ensure a common platform does not constitute a barrier for service
providers from non-participating Member States?
ANE is of the opinion that the notion of common platforms up till now has been a failure. A com-
mon platform of only one-third of the member States could lead to a more restrictive market in
EU. Imagine that the most restrictive Member States get together in a platform which would con-
stitute a barrier to less restrictive Member States. Consequently the creation of a common platform
should only be permitted if at least 14 Member States are involved. ANE underlines the principle
that a common platform must not constitute a future barrier for non-participating countries. They
should still have the same access and mobility as they have today.
In its Green Paper the Commission rightly notes that “the current concept of common platforms
represents a failure”. Why is that so? Maybe a lower threshold could reinforce the cooperation
among certain Member States. Many countries have no particular regulation concerning the quali-
fications of engineers. It could be easier for such Member States to open their doors for mutual
recognition without closing them for others. To make sure that no new barriers are introduced on
the Internal Market the Commission should be notified and given the possibility to monitor such
Member States with regulated qualifications concerning engineers could also come together in a
new platform. The problem is that this might trigger a development of double standards in the In-
ternal Market. ANE therefore argues that all existing national legislation on the qualifications of
engineers should be examined carefully in order to minimize the regulation to a minimum.
Question 6: Would you support an obligation for Member States to ensure that information
on the competent authorities and the required documents for the recognition of professional
qualifications is available through a central on line access point in each Member State?
Would you support an obligation to enable online completion of recognition procedures for
ANE supports the idea that the competent authority should be available through a central on line
access point in each Member State. A list of all competent national authorities should be available
at the EU website.
The procedures for recognition of qualification must be as quick, non-bureaucratic and cost-
effective as possible. ANE therefore recommends the use of modern information technologies. In
complicated cases further procedures may be necessary.
Question 7: Do you agree that the requirement of two years’ professional experience in the
case of a professional coming from a non-regulating Member State should be lifted in case of
consumers crossing borders and not choosing a local professional in the host Member State?
Should the host Member State still be entitled to require a prior declaration in this case?
Yes ANE agrees that any requirement of professional experience or prior declaration should be
lifted in all cases where it is not duly justified for overriding reasons of security, safety or services
of general interest.
Question 8: Do you agree that the notion of “regulated education and training” could en-
compass all training recognized by a Member State which is relevant to a profession and not
only the training which is explicitly geared towards a specific profession?
ANE agrees in principle that the world of education must adapt to the fast developing markets.
Technologies are becoming more and more advanced. On one hand engineers need more detailed
knowledge and competences. They are becoming specialists and experts. On the other hand they
have to cooperate with many other kinds of specialists and to communicate with costumers and
business partners across different branches and national borders. So they are at the same time
faced with the need to develop their general skills and qualifications. Lifelong learning and contin-
ued training are necessary to maintain and develop their skills.
The objective of the directive should be to promote the free movement of professionals. In that
light ANE is opposed to the principle that the notion of “regulated education and training” could
encompass all training recognized as relevant to a profession.
Question 9: Would you support the deletion of the classification outlined in Article 11?
The European Qualification Framework has been established. ANE supports in principle the dele-
tion of the classification in Article 11. ANE prefers a recognition procedure based on examining
the competences of the applicants. However, the requirement of a particular educational back-
ground or educational outcome may be acceptable for overriding reasons of safety and security.
ANE is looking forward to reading the result of the study commissioned by the DG Internal Mar-
ket, which should be available in the autumn.
Question 10: If Article 11 is deleted, should the four steps outlined above be implemented in
a modernized Directive? If you do not support the implementation of all four steps, would
any of them be acceptable to you?
The four steps outlined above should be implemented in a modernized Directive but only to the
extent necessary. Disproportionate compensation measures and aptitude tests should be avoided.
Question 11: Would you support extending the benefits of the Directive to graduates from
academic training who wish to complete a period of remunerated supervised practical expe-
rience in the profession abroad?
The Directive should apply also to graduates that wish to complete a period of remunerated super-
vised practical experience abroad,
Question 24: Do you consider it necessary to make adjustments to the treatment of EU citi-
zens holding third country qualifications under the Directive, for example by reducing the
three years rule in Article 3? Would you welcome such adjustment also for third country
nationals, including those falling under the European Neighbourhood Policy, who benefit
from an equal treatment clause under relevant European legislation?
It is crucial for the fortune of Europe to attract a sufficiently high number of highly qualified engi-
neers for third countries. ANE therefore considers it extremely necessary to adjust the Directive to
make it easier for EU citizens holding third country qualifications by reducing the three years rule
in Article 3. ANE is open to reducing it to 1 year of professional experience in a Member State
having recognized the qualifications of the person involved.
ANE is also open to welcoming an adjustment for third country nationals under the European