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EU directive's passport to UK practice freedom

Architects could soon have unrestricted freedom to practice throughout Europe if the latest EU initiative makes it onto the statute books.

The European Commission is proposing to remove all remaining bureaucracy controlling practice in member states.

A draft directive, published as a White Paper last month, would see the introduction of a passport or licence card for UK-registered architects. It would replace the existing system, whereby practitioners must register with the host country's regulatory body before beginning work.

The chair of the RIBA's European Affairs subcommittee, John Wright, said the proposals were good news for UK architects.

'Although there are some parts of this draft directive that we don't like, we support many aspects, ' he said.

The draft directive is still at the very earliest stages and will go through a period of consultation before being considered by MEPs.

Wright will be travelling to Brussels this weekend to work with the Architects Council of Europe on its response to the consultation.

lA bid by building surveyors to be recognised as equal to architects under EU rules has been rejected by MEPs.

A group that included the RICS and the Chartered Institute of Building in the UK was hoping for an amendment to the new directive on 'the recognition of professional qualifications' currently being debated by the European parliament.

The proposed amendment read: 'Building design may also be exercised by other professionals, in particular by engineers, building surveyors and other appropriately qualified construction professionals who have undergone special training in the field of construction or the art of building.'

If the amendment had been adopted it would have given surveyors and others the same recognition as fully qualified architects.

Wright welcomed the MEPs' decision as 'very good news'. However, he added the changes could never have been adopted for 'technical legal reasons'.

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