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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Press release10 April 2018Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Digital procedures driving the EU Single Market

The system allows for faster, smoother and more efficient cooperation between authorities in different EU countries, ultimately improving lives of Europeans. Since 2008, it facilitated over 110,000 information exchanges between authorities in EU countries, on topics such as the provision of services, applications for the European Professional Card (EPC) and the recognition of professional qualifications.

Today, the European Commission is organising a conference to celebrate its tenth anniversary with the participation of Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt, the Bulgarian presidency, and Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor (live webstreaming from 14.30 CET).

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs said: "An efficient and effective Single Market is essential for growth and prosperity in the EU. We must make use of the latest digital technology to speed up administrative procedures and lighten burdens. The IMI has been doing this for 10 years now and for the last 2 years has been a major factor in the success of the EPC."

The IMI is a multilingual, online service connecting more than 8,000 public authorities across the EU. It enables administrative cooperation between authorities in 12 policy areas. Last year nearly 34,000 information exchanges were processed via the IMI. 2 new IMI modules will be available by the end of 2018: IMI will facilitate the cross-border use of public documents issued by EU countries and will support administrative cooperation between national data protection authorities (as outlined in the General Data Protection Regulation).

Today, the Commission also published an assessment of stakeholders' experience with the European Professional Card (EPC) and the Alert Mechanism procedures (PDF, 1006 KB). Launched in January 2016, the card has been available for members of 5 very mobile professions (nurses responsible for general care, pharmacists, physiotherapists, mountain guides and real estate agents) who want to work permanently in another EU countrye or provide their services there on a temporary basis.

The assessment shows that national authorities and professional organisations consider that the EPC procedure has worked well, it has further enhanced safe professional mobility, and provided added value compared to traditional recognition processes. No particular patient safety threats were identified.

Until the end of November 2017, 3,997 applications were submitted and 1,758 EPC certificates were issued, and the numbers continue to increase since then. Only 11% of applications were rejected as not eligible or were refused by a formal decision. Most applications were received from physiotherapists (38%), followed by nurses (26%), mountain guides (23%), pharmacists (10%) and real estate agents (3%). Over half of the applications (57%) were submitted for permanent establishment in another EU country.

Stakeholder feedback also confirmed that the Alert Mechanism strengthens cooperation and trust among EU country authorities for the safe mobility of professionals.

More information on the IMI system.