ACE welcomes the EU Parliament’s report on the regulation and the need for reform in professional services


On 18 January 2018, in Strasbourg, the European Parliament adopted a report on the implementation of Directive 2013/55/EU (amending Directive 2005/36/EC) as regards regulation and the need for reform in professional services. The Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) congratulates the Rapporteurs for their work on this important issue and welcomes the report, which contributes to a greater recognition of the importance of the quality of professional services and their benefits to the society.

A year ago, on 10 January 2017, the EU Commission presented a package of legislative and non-legislative initiatives as part of the Single Market Strategy in order to achieve President Juncker's political commitment to unleash the full potential of the Single Market. The Package included a Communication on reform recommendations for regulation in professional services, in which the Commission invited Member States to improve access to and exercise of certain professions, including architects. It also included an assessment of the level of restriction of these professions, according to a new indicator developed by the Commission.

In its response to this Communication, the ACE challenged the Commission’s analysis of the mobility and regulation of the architectural profession and expressed criticism about the proposed new Restrictiveness Indicator.

The ACE welcomes the report adopted today by the European Parliament, which rightly recalls important points, namely:

  • “ [….] deregulation [of professional services] should not be an end in itself”;
  • the fundamental role played by the professions in the EU economy” and the fact that “the quality of professional services is of paramount importance to preserve the European economic, social and cultural model”,
  • in view of the risks for consumers, professionals or third parties, Member States may reserve certain activities for qualified professionals only”,
  • “elements beyond mere economic analysis are needed for an holistic assessment of the performance of the regulatory environment”. The analysis of the impact of regulations in Member States “should be subject not only to a quantitative but also to a qualitative assessment encompassing the general interest objectives and the quality of the service provided”,
  • the new Restrictiveness Indicator “should be seen as a purely indicative tool, and not as one permitting the drawing of conclusions as to whether what may be stricter regulation in some Member States is disproportionate”.


For transparency reasons, ACE calls on the EU Commission to make the numerical data and analysis supporting the calculation of the Restrictiveness Indicator public and to review and improve the indicator on a regular basis, in consultation with stakeholders.

However, ACE regrets that the report “calls on the Commission to improve the comparability of different professions and to define a common set of activities for each profession notified in the database, with a view to facilitating voluntary harmonisation across the EU”. ACE believes that the harmonisation of professional services across the EU is not desirable as it would run counter the EU cultural diversity and may ultimately impact on the quality of services provided.

The ACE looks forward to seeing the outcome of the study initiated by the Commission on the quality of professional services and to continuing the dialogue with the EU institutions and Member States on the regulation of professional services.


Back to top