ec_for_fbOn the 6th of June 2016 Philippe Juvin, a Member of the European Parliament (the European People’s Party / Parti Populaire Européen) filed a parliamentary question before the European Commission, following a work with Thierry Camail, the President of European Osteopaths.
We are very grateful to Monsieur Juvin for his help and his cooperation.
The response from the Commission is bringing elements to the matter of osteopathy :
– the profession of Osteopath is not one of the seven professions for which the minimum training requirements have been standardized at the level of the European Union.
– yet, we have the opportunity to introduce common training principles provided that our profession would be regulated in at least a third of the member states.
Such a clear response from the Commission reinforces European Osteopaths in their commitment to help, by any means, the countries of the European Union that do not have any regulation yet, to obtain one.

Subject: Regulating the profession of osteopathy

In 1997 the European Parliament voted on the Lannoye report, which called on Member States to regulate four forms of alternative medicine: acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy and osteopathy.
Following that vote, and a WHO report published in 2010, a number of countries (e.g. Belgium, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands) have started to adopt legislation on osteopathy, while in others (Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malta, the UK and Switzerland) osteopathy is now regulated. France legalised it in 2002 before bringing in full regulation in 2014.
Many patients are turning to osteopathy more often as one of the various forms of treatment they choose, as it helps improve their health in specific ways.
It would therefore be appropriate to provide a European framework for the regulation of osteopathy, in order to guarantee patients’ safety. There is a need to lay down a definition of the profession and of the skills and qualifications required.
Is the Commission considering establishing a common framework in order to make it possible to lay down uniform requirements for osteopathy training and qualifications, and to ensure that practitioners are able to move freely and practise in all EU Member States?

Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the Commission

The regulation of professions or professional activities is, in principle, up to Member States. Every Member State can decide, within the limits of non-discrimination and proportionality, whether or not to regulate a profession or a professional activity and how to regulate it (including the level and content of the education and training required for access to exercise the profession). There are exceptions to this principle for a limited number of professions(1) for which minimum training requirements have been harmonised at the EU level by Directive 2005/36/EC(2) on the recognition of professional qualifications. The profession of osteopath is not among those seven professions.
Directive 2005/36/EC also foresees the possibility to introduce so called Common Training Principles, which aims to increase the mobility of professionals, for professions fulfilling the criteria of the directive which include for instance the condition that the profession or the education and training leading to the profession should be regulated in at least 1/3 of the Member States.
According to the information of the Commission, the profession of osteopath does not seem to satisfy the abovementioned required condition. As a consequence, at this stage, the Commission does not consider establishing a common European framework of uniform osteopathy training and qualifications requirements.
(1)i.e., doctors, midwives, nurses responsible for general care, dentists, pharmacists, veterinary surgeons and architects.(2)…

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