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School of Business and Management

Professional deregulation could create up to 700,000 jobs in the EU

Dr Maria Koumenta and Professor Pedro Martins, from the School of Business and Management at QMUL, presented their research on regulatory reform at a European Commission conference in Brussels.

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The conference, entitled 'Reforming regulation of professions: results of mutual evaluation and way forward’, took place on Wednesday 18 May, and focused on the work EU countries have done in the last two years to review their national regulation and on their proposals for future regulatory reform.

In her opening speech at a European Commission conference in Brussels, Lowri Evans, the Director General for Internal Market, Industry and Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROWTH), cited Dr Koumenta’s study, which estimates that professional deregulation could create up to 700,000 jobs in the European Union.

Dr Koumenta presented the findings of her study on professional licensing in Europe in front of 400 representatives from departments and agencies of all EU Member States and from professional orders across the EU. The study, which is based on a survey of nearly 30,000 individuals across Europe, finds that international mobility tends to be lower in regulated professions and that these regulations tend to increase wage inequality. Professional regulations are also found to be higher in Central European countries like Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

In his talk, Professor Martins spoke about reforms in professional regulation. He presented the case for changes in the regulation of professions, in order to increase skilled job opportunities, in particular for the young. These reforms may also lead to increases in productivity and real incomes. Dr Martins also shared some insights on the reforms he introduced in Portugal during his time as secretary of State for Employment.

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska was the keynote speaker at the conference. She stressed the importance of the economic impact of regulated professions, which already account for 22 per cent of those employed in the EU, almost 50 million people. She recognised the value of regulated professions as major job creators across Europe. The Commissioner also highlighted the need for a Single Market which allows companies to offer their services in every Member State without facing regulation which is neither appropriate nor proportionate. She said: “Studies have shown that less restrictive regulation leads to more jobs, lower prices for consumers and better overall resource allocation. At the same time, the regulatory frameworks in place in many Member States show that there are ways to combine consumer protection and less cumbersome regulation.”

Additional information about the event can be found on the European Commission website.