Title: Code of Conduct & Veterinary Act
Date: November 2012
The purpose of a European Code of Conduct
The increase in cross-border activities and the development of a genuine Internal Market
for services call for a greater convergence of professional rules at European level.
It is therefore important that professional organizations reach agreement between
themselves at European level on a common set of rules which will ensure an equal level
of protection for recipients and a high quality of services throughout the EU.
A European Code can:
■ facilitate the free movement of service providers
■ lead to recipients’ enhanced trust and confidence in services offered by providers
from other member states.
A European Code of Conduct should apply both to the provision of services cross-border as well as to the provision of services within the territory where the service provider is established: the aim is to establish a common set of rules at European level and not to draw a distinction between national and cross-border provision of services.
A European Code of Conduct should contain the principles which are at the core of the exercise of regulated professions in Europe such as professional independence, confidentiality, honesty, integrity and dignity.
This does not exclude member states or national professional associations from stipulating more detailed rules aimed at greater protection in their national law or national Code of Conduct.
In accordance with the Directive 2006/123/CE on Services (art. 15 freedom of establishment and art. 16 free movement of services) those more detailed rules should respect the following conditions:
■ non-discrimination: the requirement may be neither directly (nationality or location of registered office) nor indirectly (residence or place of principal establishment) discriminatory;
■ necessity: the requirement must be justified for reasons of public policy, public security, public health or the protection of the environment;
■ proportionality: the requirement must be suitable for attaining the objective pursued, and must not go beyond what is necessary to attain that objective.
One of the challenges of an European Code of Conduct would also be its concrete implementation, in order to ensure that applications of these minimum set of rules can be enforced in practice.