The European professional card (EPC) is available from 18 January 2016 for five professions (general care nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, real estate agents and mountain guides). It might be extended to other professions in the future.
The EPC is not a plastic card, but an electronic certificate issued via the first EU-wide fully online procedure for the recognition of qualifications. This digital procedure is based on the well-established Internal Market Information System (IMI) and allows professionals to communicate with the relevant authorities inside a secure network. The IMI also provides for an official, multilingual communication channel between the regulating authorities for professionals in EU countries to facilitate their cooperation and enhance mutual trust.
The EPC does not replace the ‘traditional’ recognition procedures under the Professional Qualifications Directive, but it does offer an advantageous option for professionals who wish to work either temporarily or permanently in another EU country.