On 18 May the European Commission hosted a conference in Brussels on “Reforming Regulation of Professions; Results of the Mutual Evaluation and Way Forward” at which CEPI-CEI was represented. The mutual evaluation refers to the transparency exercise required by the Professional Qualifications Directive which requires EU Member States to list and evaluate the regulated professions in their country. The real estate professions are included in this mutual evaluation exercise which has resulted in the publication of national action plans. It was announced at the conference that the Commission will soon publish a public consultation on those action plans to gather reactions and comments.

The conference featured discussions about the national action plans and recent and future changes to the regulated professions which were presented by experts from different countries. It also featured the presentation of a number of recent studies which provide empirical evidence about the effects of regulation on the EU economy. Speaking at the conference, Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska highlighted the importance of the regulated professions to the EU economy. The Commission will shortly be publishing guidance on reform needs targeted at specific professions and an analytical framework to be used by national authorities when reviewing existing or intended legislation.

The real estate professions are semi-regulated with large differences in the level of regulation where it exists. CEPI-CEI cautions that it is necessary to look carefully at the reasons for the existence of regulation and to consult fully all those working within the sector when evaluating the current situation. We also caution that decisions on professional regulation at EU and national level should not be made solely for political reasons. In the real estate sector care must be taken to understand the needs of the different real estate markets and legal and economic environments. A balance must be found between the needs of businesses and consumers and also the completion of the Single Market.

The national action plans which have been published are available from the website of the European Commission at http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/16721.