The Commission Communication and Staff Working Document – released on Friday – cover: architects, engineers, accountants, tax advisers, lawyers, patent agents, real estate agents and tourist guides. After a short general introduction, this TEGOVA Secretariat analysis covers only real estate agents.
The aim of the Commission recommendations is “to encourage and assist Member States in creating a regulatory environment conducive to growth, innovation and job creation. However, progress on reforms of professional regulation in the EU has been rather disappointing in recent years. ... only a handful of Member States took action to remove disproportionate regulation. Even then, the reforms were often only prompted by infringement procedures.” (COM, p. 2)
That’s because the Commission has no power to force de-regulation on member states except in cases where fundamental EU freedoms are breached, such as:
- Slovenia reserving estate agency for Slovenians, which the Commission took action against in 2017. The restriction was revoked in 2019;
- Slovakia requiring holders of qualifications from other EU member states to go through a procedure to have their academic diplomas recognised.
The Commission does not promote deregulation pour la gloire. It does so when it gets an impression of regulatory overkill seeming only to preserve the vested interests of professional groups and that creates barriers to market entry and impedes improving productivity and lowering price levels.
In the Commission’s view, the emergence of new digital services requires rethinking the current regulatory frameworks with a view to making them more conducive to the innovative services needed.
The Commission only seems to be interested in state regulation, not self-regulation by the profession. Their analysis of the situation in the Netherlands seems to correspond to what they consider as ideal.
Full EPF Secretariat report under epf21-59 of 12.07.2021 includes country share-out of four recommendations:
- Open reserved activities to other professionals
- Review mandatory qualification requirements
- Create alternative pathways to access the profession
- Reassess requiring 100% of shares to be held by estate agents