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On 18th October 2017, Health First Europe attended the meeting hosted by MEP Lieve Wierinck and MEP Peter Liese at the European Parliament. Thanks to the initiative of the Council of European Dentists (CED), the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) and the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU), EU and national stakeholders gathered together to discuss ‘Economics vs Health? An EU Proportionality Test for Health Professions’.

The attendees engaged in dynamic discussion on the European Commission proposal for a Directive on proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions, which will have also an impact on the regulation of healthcare professions. Many participants warmly welcomed the Opinion of the ENVI committee, which supports the call for an exemption for health professions from the scope of the future Directive.

The Parliamentary Assistant Mr Remy Petitot, on behalf of MEP Françoise Grossetête, Rapporteur of the Opinion of the ENVI committee, stressed that “healthcare professionals have a public mission to patients (…) and they are already one of the most mobile professions in the European Union”. As it was highlighted by MEP Lieve Wierinck “proportionality is a general principle of EU law and must be respected. No one who has come to the European Parliament today challenges this principle. Instead, we aim to provide answers as to why when assessing proportionality of healthcare professional regulation, we should not use the same principles as for professions that provide services of pure economic interest”.

Irmfried Schwimann, the Deputy Director-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, presented the proposal: she stressed that the future Directive will be linked to the European Professional Qualification Directives and it aims to make more transparent and effective assessments of national rules on professional services.

Overall, the event was a great opportunity to present and discuss stakeholders’ position on this specific dossier. Healthcare professions count around 17 million jobs across the EU (8% of all jobs). It is vital for EU society and all stakeholders to keep on debating and sharing any concerns related to this highly important sector.