The European Centre for Liberal Professions (EuZFB) of the University of Cologne recently published an independent study on the economic impact of different regulatory approaches on the architectural sector in Europe. As the Parliament and the Council of the EU prepares to start discussing the Commission’s legislative package on services, the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) welcomes this study which sheds new light on the economic impact of regulation on the architectural profession.
The Juncker Commission has committed to unlock the full potential of the Single Market for Services by simplifying and strengthening the cross-border provision of services, notably through initiatives targeting the regulated professions – including architects. The Commission aims thereby to create new business opportunities and offer greater choice and lower prices for consumers.
While in principle, Member States are free to choose their approach to regulate professions, the EU Commission assumes that a certain form of regulation could yield to better outcomes in terms of competitiveness and be beneficial for consumers and companies. The University of Cologne has examined the economic impact of the different regulatory approaches on the architecture sector in the light of the various arguments put forward in the Mutual Evaluation exercise conducted by the European Commission in 2014-2015. Through a series of economic data and analysis, the EuZFB has reached conclusions in the four following areas.
1. Are enterprises in the architectural sector too small due to insufficient competition?
2. Are the profit margins in parts of the EU architectural sector too high due to insufficient competition?
3. Is the productivity in the EU architectural sector too low due to insufficient competition?
4. Are the regulations in some Member States anti-competitive compared to others, based on the OECD PMR indicator?
Photo: Beschcrèche Betzdorf (Luxembourg), Arch. Witry&Witry Architecture Urbanisme, © Willi Filz