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Recognition of Professional Qualifications

The European Union has put in place a legal framework for professional qualifications. As professional training is in many instances provided by higher education institutions, this is of importance to EUA. In 2007, Directive 2005/36/EC on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications came into force. It regulated the automatic recognition of the basic qualifications required for the practice of medicine, dentistry, general care nursing, midwifery, veterinary surgery, pharmacy and architecture in the EU’s internal market. In addition to these ‘sectoral’ professions, hundreds of others fall within the scope of the Directive’s General System, in which recognition is not automatic.

The recently amended Directive 2013/55/EU is more closely aligned with the Bologna Process than its predecessor. It is due for further review in 2018, but will continue to evolve in the interim as implementing acts and delegated acts (the new comitology) take effect.

Professional training is in many instances provided by higher education institutions. In 2007, EUA convened a workshop to explore the possibilities of aligning the Directive with the policies and instruments of the European Higher Education Area.

Since then, EUA has monitored relevant developments in the EU institutions as well as in regulatory, professional, academic and student bodies through its periodic updates.

In October 2010, EUA convened a further meeting in the European Parliament:

The Commission subsequently formulated a set of proposed amendments to the Directive.

  • EUA briefing note on the Commission’s proposed amendments to Directive 2005/36/EC on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications. (2012)
  • EUA position paper on the Commission’s proposed amendments to Directive 2005/36/EC on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications. (2012)

Legislative co-decision by the European Council and European Parliament then modified the proposed amendments and passed into law Directive 2013/55/EU.

  • EUA briefing note on Directive 2013/55/EU, containing the amendments to Directive 2005/36/EC on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications. (2013)
From the higher education point of view, the amended Directive is notable for its incorporation of the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) and the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), together with a strong emphasis on competences and outcome-based training. 

In 2011, the European Commission set in motion a wide consultation process in the framework of the Directive’s quinquennial review.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96