European Parliament improves professional qualification rules

New opportunities for hospital pharmacist mobility

29th October 2013

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has publicly congratulated Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for their scrutiny of legislation governing qualification recognition across national borders. In particular, MEPs achieved an opportunity to improve recognition of specialised qualifications in pharmacy, veterinary medicine and nursing.

Thanks to amendments secured by the European Parliament there will now be a formal legal avenue for specialisations such as hospital pharmacy to create a ‘common training framework’ across countries. National regulators of professional qualifications (‘competent authorities’) and professional associations in at least 10 countries can now establish a competence-based framework for automatic recognition of a specialist qualification. In the previous Directive on professional qualification recognition (Directive 2005/36/EC), only specialties of the medical and dental professions could benefit from such cross-border qualification recognition.

The final vote of the European Parliament on reforms to professional qualification recognition legislation took place on 9 October 2013, completing a two-year process of review. The text now needs to be formally approved by Member States before coming into law. The vote in Council is expected before the end of the year. Member States will then have until the end of 2015 (two years) to implement the provisions introduced by the revised Directive into national legislation.

EAHP President Dr Roberto Frontini said:

“The recently completed review of the Professional Qualifications Directive showed the European Parliament at its best: picking up on missed issues in a Commission proposal and working across party groupings and countries to improve and enhance a legal text. Hospital pharmacists owe a debt of gratitude to the lead and shadow rapporteurs of the Parliament for navigating through the hundreds of issues on this all-encompassing legal file. In doing so they picked up on the need to lift restrictions in the Commission text preventing specialties of pharmacy from making use of the common training framework tool.

With this approving vote from the European Parliament the onus now falls upon EAHP, its members and relevant national authorities to start the process of competency-alignment to form a mutual qualification recognition framework. With this in place, health systems and patients across Europe will be able to benefit from greater mobility amongst highly skilled and experienced health professionals who are dedicated to improving patient outcomes and patient safety.”


For further information contact info[at]eahp[dot]eu, 00 322 741 6835 or 00 44 7895 292 076


1. EAHP is an association of national organisations in 34 countries which represents hospital pharmacists at European and international levels. More information about the EAHP and its history here.

2. The European Commission published proposals for improving the systems of qualification recognition between EU countries in December 2011. These proposals included the concept of 'common training frameworks'. The frameworks would enable a minimum of 1/3 EU member countries to create competence-based frameworks to mutually recognise a qualification. However the December 2011 proposals prohibited any of the 7 'automatically recognised' professions (medicine, dentistry, nursing, midwifery, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and architecture) from making use of the frameworks for the purposes of specialty recognition. The reason suggested was that there were already existing mechanisms for medical and dentistry specialisations to be recognised. The needs and requirements of specialities outside of medicine and dentistry had not been fully taken account of. European Commission proposals of December 2011 available here. See text of proposed Article 49a 2 (e).

3. During its scrutiny of the Commission proposals the European Parliament recognised opportunities to improve the proposals on common training frameworks by allowing them to be used for specialties of the automatically recognised professions. In its 'trilogue' discussions with the European Commission and representatives of the EU's 28 member countries the Parliament succeeded in securing agreement with all parties to lift the restriction. The text signed off by the European Parliament on 9 October 2013 is available here. See clarifying recital 25, and Article 49a 7.

4. Pictured above are 5 of the 7 'rapporteurs' on the subject file for the European Parliament's 5 largest party groupings. From left to right: Bernadette Vergnaud (France, Party of European Socialists, lead rapporteur for the Parliament); Constance Le Grip (France, European Peoples Party, shadow rapporteur), Cristian Busoi (Romania, Alliance for Liberals and Democrats in Europe, shadow rapporteur), Heidi Ruhle (Germany, Greens-European Free Alliance, shadow rapporteur), and Emma McClarkin (UK, European Conservatives and Reformists, shadow rapporteur). The other shadow rapporteurs were Thomas Handel (Germany, European United Left - Nordic Green Left) and Matteo Salvini (Italy, Europe of Freedom and Democracy).

5. More information about hospital pharmacy specialisation is available here.

6. EAHP will now bring together its member countries at its 19th Congress in Barcelona (26-28 March 2014) to discuss the next steps to be taken to form a common training framework for hospital pharmacy in Europe. Information about the Congress is available here.

7. In the meantime more precise rules and procedures for the operation of the common training framework, including procedures for acceptance etc, will be drawn up by the European Commission via Delegated Acts over the coming two years.

8. Dr Roberto Frontini is available for interviews with the media on the above (and other) topics by contacting the EAHP secretariat via the contact details provided.