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European Commission - Press release

Professional qualifications: Commission refers Belgium, France and Germany to Court and opens infringement against Cyprus

Brussels, 7 December 2017

The Commission has decided to refer Belgium, France and Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU over the failure to notify the complete transposition of EU law on the recognition of professional qualifications (Directive 2013/55/EU).

The revised Directive should have been transposed into national legislation by 18 January 2016. The Commission sent reasoned opinions to the Belgian, French and German authorities in September 2016. Since then, Belgium, France and Germany still have not notified the complete transposition of the Directive to the Commission. Although substantial progress has been made, in particular by Germany and France, the Commission has decided to refer the 3 countries to the Court of Justice of the EU. The Commission will call on the Court to impose a daily penalty of € 22 260,48 for Belgium, € € 53 287,52 for France and € 62 203,68 for Germany from the day of the judgement until this Directive is fully enacted and in force in national law.

At the same time, the Commission is urging Cyprus to remove restrictions in certain regulations of professions which are incompatible with EU law. The Commission is sendinga letter of formal notice to Cyprus for not recognising the professional training in the fields of engineering and architecture acquired by Cypriot citizens in other Member States, which does not seem to be in line with Directive 2005/36/EC. In addition, national rules do not fully respect the principle of automatic recognition of professional qualifications acquired abroad by architects as laid down in Article 49 of Directive 2005/36/EC.

Cyprus now has two months to remedy the situation; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion to Cyprus.

Next steps:

If the Court of Justice of the EU confirms the Commission's view, the daily penalty would have to be paid from the date of the judgment or a later date set by the Court. The final amount of the daily penalty will be decided by the Court, but this cannot exceed the Commission's proposal.


The recognition of professional qualifications in the EU is governed by Directive 2005/36/EC, as amended by Directive 2013/55/EU. The Directives provide a modern EU system for the recognition of professional qualifications and experience across the EU. It helps make labour markets more flexible and further liberalises the provision of services and promotes automatic recognition of professional qualifications in EU countries.

It makes it easier for professionals who wish to establish themselves or provide their services in other Member States to have their qualifications recognised, whilst guaranteeing an improved level of protection for consumers and citizens.

In practice, under Article 260(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) if a Member State fails to transpose an EU Directive into national law within the required deadline, the Commission may call on the Court of Justice of the EU to impose financial sanctions. The penalties take into account:

- the seriousness,

- duration of the infringement,

- the deterrent effect reflected in the ability to pay of the Member State concerned.

For More Information

-   On the key decisions in the December 2017 infringements package, see full MEMO/17/4767.

-   On the general infringements procedure, see MEMO/12/12(an info graph).

-   On the EU infringements procedure.




Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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