Brussels, 8 October 2009
Professional qualifications: Commission takes action to ensure that Luxembourg and Portugal implement EU rules
The Commission has decided, under Article 228 of the EC Treaty, to send a reasoned opinion to Luxembourg and a letter of formal notice to Portugal over their failure to execute judgements of the European Court of Justice. These judgements concerned the non-communication of measures taken to implement Directive 2006/100/EC, which provides for technical adaptations to the Directives on professional qualifications further to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU. It updates, amongst others, all the lists of qualifications which benefit from automatic recognition by completing them with the corresponding Bulgarian and Romanian qualifications. The deadline for transposing the Directive expired on 1 January 2007.
EU Directive not fully implemented into national law
Both Member States have still not brought into force all the necessary provisions.
Following its judgment of 4.12.2008 (case C-223/08), Luxembourg has notified one measure concerning lawyers which is, however, not sufficient to fully transpose the directive in question. If no further measures are taken, the European Court of Justice may impose a lump sum or penalty payment on Luxembourg.
A few days before its judgment of 19.3.2009 (case C-245/08), Portugal notified a measure which transposes the Directive in question to a large extent, but which is not yet sufficient.
As long as the Directive is not implemented into national law, professionals holding Bulgarian or Romanian qualifications risk enduring needlessly bureaucratic and slow procedures before being able to exercise their right to work anywhere in the European Union and the potential users of the services of these professionals may be deprived of the opportunity to benefit from their expertise.
Under the EU Treaty, the European Commission has powers to take legal action – known as infringement procedures – against a Member State that is not respecting its obligations under EU rules. These procedures consist of three steps. The first is that the Member State receives a letter of formal notice and has two months to respond. In case further compliance with EU legislation is needed, the Commission sends a reasoned opinion. Again the Member State has two months to reply. If there is no satisfactory reply, the Commission can refer the matter to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. It can also request that the Court impose a fine on the country concerned if it does not comply with the Court's ruling.
Latest information on infringement proceedings concerning all Member States: