Strengthening recognition of professional qualifications and improved access to markets by facilitating recognition – Opportunities for landscape architects in the revision of Directive 2005/36/EC Recognition of Professional Qualifications Dr Joachim Jobi, BAK Brussels, Prof Fritz Auweck, EFLA The fact that landscape architects sometimes face unexpected difficulties when working in EU countries is a matter of common knowledge. We as landscape architects also suffer from there still being different professional statutes. In some countries the profession and the title landscape architect are protected, in others they are unregulated and in one country (France) the title landscape architect may not even be used. These are some of the reasons why EFLA is supporting the efforts of the Federal Chamber of German Architects (Bundesarchitektenkammer), which also represents landscape architects, interior architects and urban planners, in their aim to improve the situation. What brought it about was the evaluation and revision of the EU Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive of 2005. In Germany landscape architects at the Federal Chamber of German Architects joined up with interior architects and urban planners in 2010 to form a working group which was to look into the opportunities and potential of sustainable improvement of the EU-‐wide recognition of professional qualifications. It soon became clear that change can only be accomplished in cooperation with the European professional associations. The German working group, comprising the representative office of the Federal Chamber of German Architects in Brussels (Dr Jobi) and the European professional associations [EFLA (landscape architects), ECIA (interior architects) and ECTP (urban planners)] have been working together since the spring of 2010. EFLA is represented by Fritz Auweck, who is also a member of the national working group. An elaborate study on European educational standards in the three disciplines and the structure of the profession as well as the obstacles to mobility in the 27 EU member states and the countries of the Council of Europe was completed in spring 2011. The recorded data was systematically analysed (see Table: EFLA_Prof_Recogn_Database_Final) and defined by a joint position paper including concrete proposals for the improvement and acceleration of the recognition of landscape architects, interior architects and urban planners. These documents were presented and elucidated at the European Commission (Directorate General Internal Markets and Services) in spring 2011. The endeavour to improve recognition and consequently access to other markets is embedded in the EU Commission’s present considerations regarding the revision of Directive 2005/36/EC Recognition of Professional Qualifications, which are fundamental to this matter. From autumn 2010 to spring 2011 the directive was evaluated and public consultation took place at the level of national professional associations. In some countries the public authorities hosted information events. At these events the landscape architects stated their position and demanded better recognition at the European level. The problem during this stage was that in many countries mainly architects’ associations were consulted without including landscape architects. The so-‐called Green Book, published on 22 June 2011, contains the findings of evaluations and consultations and is the first to offer concrete options for the updating of the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive. This takes the revision process of the Directive into its critical phase. The proposals are listed in the Green Book and cover the following issues:
Amendment of the regulation on joint platforms – The Commission’s proposals aim at substantially improving recognition of certain professions under the general scope of the directive and bring it more into line with automatic recognition. This proposal provides an important and promising approach for improved recognition of landscape architects who, like interior architects and urban planners, fall under the above mentioned general scope of recognition in accordance with the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive. The Commission proposes the following amendments: o Lower the threshold for establishing a platform of presently two-‐thirds to one-‐third of the member states (i.e. 9 out of 27) o Support of the platform not only by professional associations but also by at least nine member states o Opportunities for other member states to join the platform later o The Commission is to review and approve the platform. European professional certificate – the Commission intends this to be facultative and mainly applied under the general scope of the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive in cases where services are rendered temporarily in another EU member state. The Commission’s concept determines that the only feasible authorities to issue certificates are the professional associations – this also applies when the profession is not regulated in the country of origin, in which case a relevant public authority must be assigned. The professional certificate is to simplify and accelerate the procedure of gaining recognition in other EU countries.
Further to the above points and in conjunction with the publication of the Green Book the EU Commission has requested fresh comments on the concrete proposals made in the Green Book. The landscape architects will put forward their ideas at the EU Commission – not only in written form stating their own professional politics, but also in direct dialogue with the Commission. This will be achieved through the Federal Chamber of German Architects’ offices in Brussels in talks with members of the European parliament and the responsible officials at the Commission’s Directorate General Internal Markets. At the national level, this autumn is the right time to approach members of the European parliament and national governments who are fully involved in the law-‐making procedure for the revision of the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive. We will be providing information about concrete recommendations for the national professional associations. The decisive meeting with the EU Commission, which the Brussels offices of the Federal Chamber of German Architects and the presidents of EFLA, ECIA and ECTP as the German umbrella organisations for the three disciplines will attend, is imminent. The Commission has already announced that a first draft of the amended Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive will be presented by 2012 and the entire revision procedure for the directive finalised by 2014. Under the direction of the Brussels offices of the Federal Chamber of German Architects, EFLA will be actively involved in further discussions and the development of the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive. EFLA’s Professional Practice Committee will be included in the process. These discussions are vitally important to all professional landscape architects and we will provide updates on the discussions as well as on the work’s progress. Brussels / Munich 04.08.2011