The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) today welcomed the positive outcome of the European Parliament vote on the proposed Recognition of Professional Qualifications directive. This vote, in Second Reading of the co-decision process, was based on the Common Position adopted by the Council last year. The RIBA has lobbied UK MEPs to this end and supported the intensive dialogue between the Architects Council of Europe and EU Institutions to ensure that the concerns of the architectural profession are reflected in the final text.
The new Directive (2002/0061(COD)) will combine the provisions of 15 existing directives into one new framework directive, replacing the sectoral directives (for the architectural and medical professions) and the general directive (governing the mutual recognition of higher education diplomas). The RIBA sought to ensure that the provisions of the Architect Directive (85/384/EC) - which have been very effective in ensuring the automatic recognition of qualifications in the field of architecture across Europe and in facilitating cross-border movement - would be maintained in the new directive.
The RIBA fought to ensure that the Commission's stated intention of preserving the acquis communautaire would be upheld, in particular with regard to the:
1. retention of the 11 fundamental skills and aptitudes necessary to maintain the highest quality of education in the core text of the directive (rather than relegation to an annexe) and
2. arrangements for formal consultation with the architectural profession on matters affecting it.
Both of these objectives have been satisfied in the text adopted by the Parliament, in spite of attempts by the surveyors to remove what they saw as "special treatment" for the architectural profession.
Director of Policy & International Relations, Ian Pritchard said:
"We are delighted at this outcome, which underlines the importance of developing close relations with our representatives at the European Parliament, and the effectiveness of our pan-European professional body in Brussels. We are awaiting the outcome of the final step, in which the Council will consider the result of the vote in Parliament, but we are expecting this to be achieved without recourse to the conciliation process".
It remains to be seen to what extent the adoption of the Qualifications Directive will impact on the ongoing legislative debate on the proposed Directive on Services in the Internal Market, notably in respect of the derogation for the architectural profession from the "Country of Origin" principle.