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PR(06)14: Deficiencies in Liechtenstein's implementation of the rules on mutual recognition of professional qualifications


The EFTA Surveillance Authority today delivered a reasoned opinion to Liechtenstein regarding Directive 89/48/EEC and Directive 92/51/EEC setting up a general system of recognition of professional qualifications. The Authority concluded that Liechtenstein has not correctly implemented the Directives with regard to the professions of lawyer, patent lawyer, auditor and trustee.

The basic principle of the general system is that a host state (in this case Liechtenstein) may not refuse access to a profession if the person concerned is qualified to practise the same profession in his or her state of origin. Only if there are substantial differences in the levels of qualification can the host state impose compensation measures. The qualifications must be individually compared on the basis of all available evidence. In the case of differences in the duration of the education and training, the host state may demand professional experience. Where there are differences in the matters covered, an individualised test or an adaptation period may be imposed.

For qualified professionals within all professions in question Liechtenstein legislation contains requirements which go beyond what is permitted according to the mutual recognition directives. Moreover, compensation measures in Liechtenstein are generally applied without the prescribed prior individual assessment comparing the matters covered by the education and training of the applicants and those required by Liechtenstein.

The purpose of a reasoned opinion is to give the State in question a last chance to take corrective measures before the Authority decides whether to bring the matter before the EFTA Court. Liechtenstein has been given two months to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion.

For further information, please contact:

Mr Hallgrímur Ásgeirsson,
Director, Internal Market Affairs Directorate,
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 1860; or

Mr Hallvard Gorseth,
Officer, Internal Market Affairs Directorate,
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 1885

22 March 2006

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