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Mechanism for the recognition of diplomas in craft trades, commerce and certain services

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

Mechanism for the recognition of diplomas in craft trades, commerce and certain services

This directive aims to put in place a new mechanism for the recognition of diplomas for professional activities not yet covered by the general system.


Directive 1999/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 June 1999 establishing a mechanism for the recognition of qualifications in respect of the professional activities covered by the Directives on liberalisation and transitional measures and supplementing the general systems for the recognition of qualifications [See amending acts]

This directive will be repealed and replaced by Directive 2005/36/EC as of 20 October 2007.


The new mechanism aims in particular to:

  • reinforce legal certainty vis-à-vis the general system by allowing migrants to seek recognition of their diplomas;
  • revise certain provisions of the Directives on "transitional measures" and "liberalisation", notably in regard to commerce, industry and craft trades;
  • facilitate updating of the categories of professional experience thanks to a new comitology procedure vesting executive powers in the Commission;
  • simplify Community law by revamping 35 transitional and liberalisation directives.

Directive 89/48/EEC on a general system for the recognition of higher-education diplomas awarded on completion of professional education and training of at least three years' duration and Directive 92/51/EEC on a second general system for the recognition of professional education and training which complements Directive 89/48/EEC do not apply to certain professional activities. Hence this Directive to a certain extent supplements the general system.

Annex A, Part 1 of this Directive contains the list of activities covered by the Directive: these include textiles, clothing, leather, wood, etc.

The Directive applies to the activities listed in Annex A which nationals of a Member State wish to exercise as employees or in a self-employed capacity in a host Member State.

Member States must adopt the measures defined in the Directive in respect of the establishment in their territory of natural persons and companies or firms covered by Title I of the General Programmes for the abolition of restrictions on freedom to provide services and freedom of establishment and also in respect of the provision of services by these persons and companies or firms (the "beneficiaries") who wish to pursue the activities listed in Annex A.

Member States in which the taking up or pursuit of any activity referred to in Annex A is subject to the possession of certain qualifications must ensure that any beneficiaries who apply therefor be provided, before they establish themselves or before they begin to provide services, with information as to the rules governing the occupation which they propose to pursue.

Recognition of formal qualifications awarded by another Member State

Member States may not, on the grounds of inadequate qualifications, refuse to permit a national of another Member State to take up or pursue any of the activities covered by the Directive on the same conditions as apply to its own nationals, without having first compared the knowledge and skills certified by the diplomas, certificates or other titles obtained by the beneficiary with a view to pursuing the same activity elsewhere in the Community, with those required under its own national rules.

When the examination shows that the knowledge and skills correspond to those required by the national rules, the host Member State may not refuse the holder the right to pursue the activity in question.

Where, however, the comparative examination shows a substantial difference, the host Member State shall give the beneficiary the opportunity to demonstrate that he has acquired the knowledge and skills which were lacking. The beneficiary may choose between an adaptation period and an adaptation test.

However, the host Member State may require an adaptation period or an aptitude test if the migrant envisages exercising professional activities in a self-employed capacity or as a manager of an undertaking which is covered by the Directive and which requires the knowledge and application of specific national rules in force.

Recognition of professional qualifications on the basis of professional experience acquired in another Member State

The prior exercise of an activity covered by the Directive must be recognised as sufficient evidence of knowledge and ability where, in a Member State, the taking up or pursuit of these activities is subject to possession of general, commercial or professional knowledge and ability. The duration of the prior activity provided for in the Directive depends on the activity in question.

Recognition of other professional qualifications obtained in another Member State

The production of an extract from the "judicial record" or, failing this, of an equivalent document issued by a competent judicial or administrative authority in the home Member State or in the Member State from where the beneficiary comes shall be considered as sufficient evidence of proof of good character and proof that he is not and has not previously been declared bankrupt.

When the person is not in a position to furnish these documents, the Member State must accept as sufficient proof, for nationals of other Member States, a certificate issued by a competent judicial or administrative authority in the home Member State or the Member State from which the applicant comes, or failing this a declaration on oath to the effect that these conditions have been fulfilled. This certificate shall concern precise facts which are taken into consideration in the host Member State.

Where a host Member State requires proof of financial standing, it shall regard certificates issued by banks in the home Member State or in the Member State from where the beneficiary comes as equivalent to those issued in its own territory.


As from 1 January 2001, Member States must communicate to the Commission every two years a report on the application of the system introduced. In particular the report must contain a statistical summary of the decisions taken and a description of the main problems arising from the application of the Directive.

Not later than five years after transposition of the Directive, the Commission must report to the European Parliament and the Council on the state of application of the Directive in the Member States. If necessary, the Commission must also submit proposals for improving the existing arrangements with the aim of facilitating free movement of persons, the right of establishment and freedom to provide services.

The Directive repeals the Directives listed in Annex B.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 1999/42/EC adoption: codecision [1996/0031/COD]



OJ L 201 of 31.7.1999

Last updated: 05.12.2007