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Support for liberal professions

Question écrite de M. David MCALLISTER - Commission européenne

Question de M. David MCALLISTER,

Diffusée le 2 avril 2024

Subject: Support for liberal professions

Liberal professions contribute significantly to protecting the rights and interests of individuals in the face of more powerful economic operators and the state. Liberal professions, which provide intellectual services in an independent manner, play a crucial role in promoting the EU as a centre of excellence. Skilled workers and high-quality services will strengthen the competitiveness of the EU on the global stage. The regulatory system for liberal professional services provides the basis for this standard of quality. In the long term, this focus on quality can only ensured by a well-balanced system for liberal professional activities, in which self-governance and professional rules are central pillars. Moreover, the information asymmetry between the provider and recipient of services means that having regulation in place to protect consumers and patients is essential.

1. How does the Commission plan on gearing the development of the internal market towards quality-based and not just profit-oriented systems without compromising the existing legal particularities of liberal professions?

2. Will the Commission relieve liberal professions of certain administrative burdens, for example, is it planning to significantly reduce mandatory reporting?

3. How is the Commission planning to give liberal professions more recognition for their achievements with regard to the green transition, and how can it make the related framework conditions such as sustainability reporting requirements and climate protection measures more comprehensible and free of red tape?


Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 18 juin 2024

Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission

(19 June 2024)

It is the competence of Member States to regulate liberal professions within the framework of EU law. Member States follow different regulatory approaches.

The Commission is working with Member States to ensure that whatever their regulatory approach, restrictions of the freedom to provide services are justified by legitimate public interest objectives and proportionate to achieving them, including via the Proportionality Test Directive (1).

It regularly issues reform recommendations to all Member States to support entrepreneurship, productivity and high-quality professional services (2). In its 2024 Annual Single Market and Competitiveness Report (3), the Commission announced several actions such as a project to facilitate the declaration of posted workers that will also benefit liberal professions.

The Commission set a target to reduce administrative burdens associated with reporting requirements by 25% (4). With its 2024 Work Programme, the Commission put forward a first set of proposals to reduce administrative burden.

Some will have a direct impact on liberal professions and relieve them of certain administrative burdens (for example, the Commission Delegated Directive amending Directive 2013/34/EU) (5). Further simplification measures are under preparation.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are generally not subject to sustainability reporting requirements (6) but they may receive requests for sustainability information from banks or large companies with which they do business. To ease the burden of responding to such requests, the Commission intends to publish a voluntary sustainability reporting standard for SMEs.

1 ∙ ⸱

2 ∙ ⸱ SWD 2023/628-644 final.

3 ∙ ⸱ SWD 2024/77 and SWD 2024/78.

4 ∙ ⸱ COM/2023/638 final.

5 ∙ ⸱

6 ∙ ⸱ Except for listed SMEs.

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