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EU Court Lets States Set Professional Standards

(CN) - A European directive requiring member states to recognize diplomas issued in other member states does not preclude states from setting and enforcing their own professional standards, the European Court of Justice ruled.

Spanish authorities recognized Marco Cavallera's engineering diploma from Italy and allowed him to pursue an engineering career in Catalonia. The Italian engineer then tried to use the Spanish certification to become a registered engineer in Italy, despite never having worked professionally in Italy or taken the state exam.

The Italian Minister of Justice, following the European directive, recognized the validity of the Spanish certificate. But the National Council of Engineers challenged Cavellera's ability to take up the profession in Italy without having met the national standards.

Europe's highest court ruled that member states have the right to establish and enforce the standards for a given profession in their states, despite the directive requiring them to recognize diplomas from other member states.

The ruling states that "the definition of the concept of 'diploma' ... does not include a certificate issued by a Member State which does not attest any education or training covered by the education system of that Member State and is not based on either an examination taken or professional experience acquired in that Member State."

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