CEFTA agreed two new important decisions

June 21, 2023

Brussels – Experts from the CEFTA Parties agreed on new set of rules that will promote professional mobility and facilitate trade: Decision on Establishing a General System of Recognition of Professional Qualifications and the Decision on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

Encouraging professional mobility

Recognizing the challenges faced by professionals such as civil engineers, accountants, and teachers who encounter multiple qualification requirements, time-consuming procedures and excessive costs when expanding their businesses to the different CEFTA markets, CEFTA has agreed common EU compliant recognition framework. People who obtained their qualifications in CEFTA and have been granted access to practice their profession but seek to supply their services in other CEFTA markets will benefit from these rules. Also, professionals who had their diplomas elsewhere, but are recognised in one CEFTA Party and have at least three years of professional experience will also be able to apply for recognition under these rules, as well as experts from the Parties who do not regulate said profession and have at least 1 year of experience.

In light of different qualification requirements across CEFTA and lack of the EU agreed standards, authorities in charge of recognition will still compare official requirements with provided qualifications and only in case of substantial differences they may impose compensatory measures such as an adaptation period of up to three years or an aptitude test. For people whose professional profile do not match with profiles regulated they might be granted partial access to the profession.

The application of these common rules will start with the engineers and gradually include other professions. This Decision is complementary to the Agreement on Recognition of Professional Qualifications for Doctors of Medicine, Doctors of Dental Medicine and Architects in the framework of CEFTA. Together these two agreements transpose two EU recognition systems regulated in the EU Professional Qualifications Directive 2005/36/EC.

Promoting innovation and smart growth

The second decision endorsed at the expert level, the Decision on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights provides a comprehensive roadmap designed to address the obstacles and challenges faced by companies operating in the CEFTA markets, such as expensive and lengthy procedures for registering intellectual property rights, different treatments across the region, inadequate legal protection, etc. By streamlining processes, reducing costs, strengthening a regional IPR framework and enhancing cooperation, the Decision will promote innovation of products and services and ensure equal treatment for businesses across the region, and strengthen protection of consumers from counterfeit and pirated products, ensuring their health and safety.

Intellectual property rights are key to protecting innovations and competitiveness based on smart and new solutions for businesses and consumers. By enabling stronger cooperation in this field CEFTA contributes to building friendly environment for growing local innovative champions.

Regional market for regional growth

“Our absolute priority is the implementation of the Action Plan for the Common Regional Market. But this is not just some box to be ticked, these are very concrete opportunities for concrete people and businesses. If used, they will create benefits which will be felt in households, companies and people to people communication, but also in our export statistics and foreign investment assessments”, said Danijela Gacevic, Acting Director of the CEFTA Secretariat.

She emphasized that these decisions still need to be adopted by the CEFTA Joint Committee followed by the necessary procedure in each Party necessary for proper implementation.

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