Proportionality Test before adoption of new professional regulation
Following the adoption of the Council’s General Approach in June, and the Internal Market Committee (IMCO) report in December 2017, representatives from the Commission, Council and Parliament met for three rounds of inter-institutional negotiations from January onwards in order to agree on a common text for the adoption of the text in first reading. At the last IMCO meeting, the rapporteur Andreas Schwab (EPP/DE), announced that the co-legislators had reached a provisional political agreement.
The provisional deal now needs to be confirmed by the Council Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) and by the Parliament in plenary sitting. Once formally approved by the co-legislators and published in the EU Official Journal, Member States will have two years to transpose the Directive into national law.
The Directive aims to streamline and clarify how Member States should undertake a proportionality test before adopting or amending national rules restricting access to or pursuit of regulated professions. Such tests shall ensure that professionals can practice across the EU without facing discriminatory and unjustified restrictions. Parliament's Rapporteur A. Schwab said: “Even though the proportionality principle already exists, the problem up to now has been its application in some Member States. In the future, there will be no more excuses for disproportionate regulation of professions, as the criteria that have to be assessed are now clearly stipulated in this new directive".
Notification procedure for authorisation schemes and requirements related to services
Following the adoption of the Council’s General Approach in June, and the IMCO report in December 2017, representatives from the Commission, Council and Parliament met in on 20 February for a first inter-institutional meeting ("trilogue") at which they identified the priorities of the upcoming negotiations, including the scope of the notification obligation, the obligation to notify draft measures and the standstill period clause. A second trilogue meeting took place on 22 March and it is expected that the negotiations will be concluded under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council.
European Services e-Card
At its meeting on 21 March, the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament voted on two reports regarding the Commission’s proposals to introduce a Services e-Card. The IMCO committee rejected both Commission’s proposals by 21 votes to 14, thus expressing its deep dissatisfaction. However, MEPs did not adopt any report that would be submitted to the plenary sitting. MEPs thus sought to keep open the options of either drafting a new report, or waiting for the position of the Council before deciding on any concrete follow-up, i.e. adopting a new report rejecting the current proposals, or seeking a compromise to amend them.
Four other Parliamentary committees adopted negative opinions on the Commission's proposals, calling on the IMCO committee to reject the proposals. They underlined that these proposals do not solve the problems companies face when going cross-border and do not facilitate the functioning of the internal market. Instead, they would bring many dangers and overlaps with existing tools. The card would risk the introduction of the country of origin principle and create additional administrative structures, while not addressing the issues companies, especially SMEs encounter.