Lawyers get thumbs-up to practise throughout EU

Approval has been secured at the European Parliament for a new EU directive on the mutual recognition within member countries of professional qualifications.

The directive would allow any lawyer legally established as a professional in their home state to provide services “on a temporary and occasional basis” elsewhere in the EU under their original professional title, without having to apply for recognition of their qualifications. They would, however, have to follow local rules protecting clients from malpractice.

The legislation offers similar rights to accountants, engineers, psychologists, real estate agents and other regulated professionals, and liberalises existing general and sector-specific EU rules.

The proposal will now be debated at the EU Council of Ministers, which was called upon by EU Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein to swiftly approve the proposals.

“Enhancing the freedom of movement of qualified persons will mean more opportunities for those people themselves, more choice for those who use their services and wider dissemination of good professional practice,” he said.

For gaining more permanent status, the proposal would introduce a more flexible and automatic procedure, simplifying management and updating recognition rules.