A blueprint for a "European Manifesto of Professionals" was presented at a major conference organised by the EESC Various Interests' Group in Rome on 1 December 2017. Ideas and proposals discussed during the event will contribute to achieving a common definition of liberal professions at European level.
The EESC Various Interests' Group officially presented the plan for a "European Manifesto of Professionals" at a conference entitled "The Liberal Professions, a lever for the Development of Europe: towards a European Manifesto of Professionals" organised at the Campidoglio in Rome on 1 December 2017, in cooperation with the Comitato Unitario Permanente degli Ordini e Collegi Professionali (joint standing committee of professional associations and bodies).
The event aimed to discuss ideas with a view to agreeing on a common definition of liberal professions at European level and represented the starting point for future action in this area. Taking into account that 47 million people in Europe work in regulated professions, approximately 22% of the working population, it is undeniable that liberal professions play a key role in our economies and societies. All proposals will be gathered together and feed into a "European Manifesto of Professionals", aimed at ensuring that the EU's liberal professions achieve their potential in the near future.
High-level speakers included the President of the EESC Various Interests' Group Luca Jahier, the Italian Minister of Labour and Social Policies Giuliano Poletti and the President of the National Council of Economy and Labour (CNEL) Tiziano Treu.
"The liberal professions were already mentioned in the Treaty of Rome, signed 60 years ago, in Article 193 establishing the European Economic and Social Committee. Our journey therefore began many years ago," said the president of the EESC Various Interests' Group, Mr Jahier. "Today, we want to renew this commitment and make a tangible contribution for the liberal professions so that they can develop their full potential in the European Union over the next few years."
The key ideas of the "Manifesto" were presented by Arno Metzler, Vice-President of the Various Interests' Group, who then introduced the debate which was structured around three panels.
Panel 1 – "Liberal Professions as a key asset for the development of the European Union"
Chaired by Marina Elvira Calderone, Various Interests' Group member, participants discussed how the professions contribute to the development of the EU in terms of economic growth, employment and social inclusion, with particular reference to young people and women.
Panel 2 – "The regulation of liberal professions in Europe – between market and common constitutional traditions"
Chaired by Rudolf Kolbe, member of the Various Interests' Group, speakers discussed the regulation of the professions in Europe, specifically how to reconcile internal market and competition requirements with safeguards for ethical independence and the public interest in exercising a profession (e.g. the role of doctors in public health or of engineers in building and road safety).
Panel 3 – "Safeguards and the dignity of liberal professions in Europe"
Chaired by Ben Rizzo, Various Interests' Group member, this panel focused on cross-cutting issues such as fair pay, professional independence, service quality and the ethical, social and free-thinking values of the professions, which are essential to safeguarding them and to ensuring that they receive due respect in Europe.