‘Thou Shall Not…(Dis)Trust’: Codes of Conduct and Harmonization of Professional Standards in the EU
28 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2009
Date Written: July 8, 2009
In the absence of the country of origin principle and thus quasi-automatic mutual recognition, the creation of codes of conduct (CoC) at a European level as an alternative, soft method of rule-making acquires new dynamics. Pan-European CoC are an instrument that can be used to reinforce trust in the quality of the legal regimes and qualification or licensing requirements of the other MS dealing notably with issues such as commercial communications or rules of professional ethos. CoC, while voluntary, soft-law instruments, are considered as partaking in the effort to increase the ‘awareness of Europeanness’, pursue legitimate objectives that are accepted as valid at Community level and ultimately guarantee a high level of quality commensurate with the ever-increasing expectations of the EU citizens with a view to enhancing trust among MS as to the equivalence of services and service suppliers originating in other MS. Nevertheless, effective market access for service suppliers can depend heavily on such codes, which are typically adopted by non-state bodies when they exercise their legal autonomy. SUH (mostly voluntary) rules of conduct can hinder the intra-EU movement of professionals. Hence, liberalization of factor mobility enshrined in primary and secondary EC law or agreed on during state-to-state negotiations at a multilateral level can be jeopardized by the adoption and application of such codes. This paper aims to explore the impact of CoC on the liberalization of professional services.
Keywords: codes of conduct, professional services, professional organizations, European Union, regulation of services, services Directive, self-regulation, soft-law, competition law, undertakings, associations of undertakings
JEL Classification: F15, K21, L44, L84, L88
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