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The SACL addressed the CJEU regarding the requirements for a professional qualification met in several EU Member States

The SACL addressed the CJEU regarding the requirements for a professional qualification met in several EU Member States
2020-04-29

By its ruling of 8 April 2020, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (SACL) has decided to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a preliminary ruling in an administrative case in which the situation occurred where a person has not obtained formal evidence of the professional qualification of a pharmacist because the mandatory requirements for the acquisition of this qualification have been met in more than one EU Member State.

The applicant completed 4-year university studies in pharmacy in the United Kingdom, acquired the master’s degree in pharmacy and did a 6-month internship in a pharmacy, which was evaluated positively as passed. In order to acquire a pharmacist qualification in the United Kingdom, academic education, i.e. 4 years of university studies, and a 12-month professional internship at a pharmacy are required. Due to personal circumstances the applicant had to return to Lithuania; therefore, she did not have the entire period of internship at a pharmacy in the United Kingdom, but she has accomplished it in Lithuania.

Thus, a situation occurred in this case where the applicant has met the requirements for the acquisition of the professional qualification of a pharmacist in terms of the EU law, yet her professional qualification is not recognised in the host Member State – Lithuania – due to exclusively formal reasons: the applicant does not have formal evidence of professional qualification. She has not obtained this evidence because due to personal circumstances she has met the mandatory requirements for the acquisition of a pharmacist qualification in more than one EU Member State, unlike the usual practice, but exercising the fundamental EU freedom, i.e. the freedom of movement for persons, in two EU Member States, and has been currently seeking to pursue the professional activities of a pharmacist.

According to the SACL, being unable to pursue the professional activities of a pharmacist in the Republic of Lithuania, the applicant suffers constraints namely due to the fact that she has exercised free movement of persons and her training as a pharmacist, as it is provided for in the EU law, took place in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Lithuania.

The ruling notes that the options proposed by Lithuanian competent authorities to the applicant (returning to the United Kingdom to accomplish the remaining 6-month period of internship and applying to one of higher education institutions in Lithuania that grants the professional qualification of a pharmacist to accomplish the respective study programme from the first year of studies) seem to be unfeasible or the competences acquired by the applicant while exercising her right as the EU citizen to freely move across the European Union are not adequately respected, thus presupposing a disproportionate burden of individual obstacles.

Under the circumstances, the chamber of judges of the SACL has decided to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling on the question of whether the EU Directive provisions establishing that a person has not obtained formal evidence of qualification because the mandatory requirements for the acquisition of the professional qualification have been met in several EU Member States instead of one state can be applied. The SACL also raises a question of whether the provisions of these directives should be interpreted as obliging a qualification recognition institution to evaluate the contents of all documents that can prove a professional qualification provided by a person, their conformity to the requirements for a professional qualification set by the host Member State and, as needed, apply compensatory measures (for details, see Administrative Case No. eA-3312-822/2020).