Skip to main content
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Policy developments

To reform the system of recognition of professional qualifications in the EU and simplify the related administrative procedures, the EU adopted Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications. The directive was amended in 2013

Benefits of the directive

Directive 2005/36/EC brings

  • a comprehensive modernisation of the EU system for recognition of professional experience
  • helps make labour markets more flexible
  • further liberalises the provision of services and promotes automatic recognition of professional qualifications in EU countries

Modernisation of the directive

The professional qualifications directive was modernised in 2013, when the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted Directive 2013/55/EU, amending Directive 2005/36/EC. The transposition period was two years and was due by 18 January 2016.

For more information on policy developments on professional qualifications recognition, see the legislation section.

The services package

The services package of January 2017 will make it easier for professionals to provide services to a potential EU customer base of 500 million. The EU services sector provides jobs for two-thirds of Europeans. Regulated professions make up 22% of that total. The package included two initiatives related to professions

Report on the implementation of a revised professional qualifications directive

In May 2020 the European Commission published a report on the implementation of a revised professional qualifications directive (COM/2020/191) and an accompanying Staff Working Document (SWD/2020/79).

The report covers all key elements of the 2013 modernisation and draws some preliminary conclusions regarding its implementation and the areas that merit further work. In addition, the report presents the results of the special upgrading programme for Romanian nurses.

With this report, the Commission meets the reporting requirement under Article 60(2) of the professional qualifications directive.

Minimum training requirements under review – nurses responsible for general care

In May 2020 we published the study, 'Mapping and assessment of developments of one of the sectoral professions under Directive 2005/36/EC - nurse responsible for general care'. The study aims to support the assessment of whether or not to propose an adaptation of the minimum training requirements for nurses responsible for general care under Directive 2005/36/EC, in order to take account of scientific and technical progress within the limits of the delegated powers granted to the Commission under this directive.

In November 2019, a workshop in the context of the above study was organised in Brussels. It brought together representatives of professional organisations, regulators, registration authorities and training institutions. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the main technical and scientific advancements affecting the nursing profession in EU and EFTA countries, and the training subjects, knowledge and skills listed under Directive 2005/36/EC.


Regulatory committee

A committee on the recognition of professional qualifications assists the Commission when needed in helping implement the directive in EU countries.

Group of coordinators

The group of coordinators aims to

  • help national authorities and the Commission work together better
  • monitor policies related to qualifications for regulated professions
  • exchange experiences and good practices in the recognition of qualifications

Members of the group are appointed by national authorities and the Commission chairs the meetings. For more information see the webpage of the Group of coordinators for the recognition of professional qualifications.

Cooperation between EU countries

  • National authorities may also use the IMI system to facilitate cooperation with each other when considering the recognition of professional qualifications.
  • National authorities decide whether to recognise professional qualifications obtained in other EU countries. They need to follow the common rules set out in the Code of conduct (3MB).


Professionals who have problems getting their professional experience recognised, may contact the SOLVIT network, national courts and public authorities, or as a last resort, complain to the Commission.

Learn more about infringement cases and ways to assert your rights in the enforcement section.

If you think a particular country’s legislation or administrative practices violate EU law, you can complain in writing to the European Commission.