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Commission service package cause for debate

4.7.2017Mobility

The service package proposed by the European Commission on 10 January 2017 is causing debate among trade unions across Europe.

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The package includes three different proposals:

  • Proposal for a services e-card
  • Proposal for a services notification procedure
  • Proposal for a proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions

ETUC, the European Trade Union Confederation, has especially criticized the services e-card, fearing that the proposals could impact enforcement of companies’ obligations and workers’ rights in a bad way. The social partners, both employers and trade unions, in cleaning, insurance and construction sectors have jointly criticized the services e-card

Less obstacles for professional mobility

For the proportionality test the debate has been more balanced. Regulation of professions put up barriers for mobility, often making it more difficult to practice a profession in another country. For that reason, regulation of professions must be proportional to the aim they want to reach when countries implement new regulation. This is already the case in the current regulation, the Recognition of professional qualifications directive.

Regulation of professions put up barriers for mobility, often making it more difficult to practice a profession in another country.

What the Commission has pointed out in the proposal is that this is not working well. “The current uneven scrutiny of the regulation of professions across the EU has a negative impact on the provision of services and the mobility of professionals”, the Commission writes in the proposal, and lays out a new common procedure to follow for the test to solve this problem.

Eurocadres has in two positions, on of them jointly with CEPLIS, European Council of the Liberal Professions, expressed concern over the current situation and has overall welcomed the proposal on proportionality tests, while still raising some concerns about it. The main reason why Eurocadres agrees that the situation in the member states must be changed as regards the proportionality assessment is that inappropriate regulation can create a burden on the professional and put up obstacles for mobility.

“The current uneven scrutiny of the regulation of professions across the EU has a negative impact on the provision of services and the mobility of professionals.”

One concern that Eurocadres raises is that the proportionality test can turn out to act as a driver against modernisation of professional regulations. When all new and changed regulation must be proportionality tested, it could be a deterrent to making necessary changes.

For the health sector regulation is essential in order to safeguard patients. For the proportionality test there has been a lot of concern from health sector trade unions and EPSU, European Public Service Union, has proposed that health and social sectors should be excluded from the test.