The European Commission through Mr Andriukaitis responded to a parliamentary question bearing on the CEN european standard related to the profession of Osteopath (CEN/TC 414).
Important elements induced by the response :
– the European Standardization Committee (CEN) is an independent entity defining voluntary european standards at the request of standardization national organizations, independent as well.
– it is often difficult to know to what extent such standards are implemented in the domestic market.
– each member state is free to define its health policy and the recognition of a profession.
Therefore, European standards have no impact on the health policy of each country.
The Commission did not wish to respond to the question as to whether the United Kingdom was an example to be followed.
A few precisions :
A standard is designed within a standatdization entity, a profit-making company and does not arise in any way from the administration or the government.
A standard is, by nature, of voluntary compliance, only the one who decides to comply with it is compelled to respect it :
– respect the requirements provided for in the standard,
– comply or not with the recommendations of this standard.
If you wish to learn about standard CEN/TC 414, please visit the website of your standardization national entity :
and pay the requested amount of money (for example 75€ in Belgium, 88€ in Austria, France 90€, Switzerland 87CHF…).
Then, such as is specified from the very first page, this document is intended for an exclusive use and not for a collective use and any copy, even a partial one is prohibited.
Another important detail is that national regulations always prevail upon the standard.
Subject: Practising as an osteopath in the different Member States and compliance with the CEN European standard
Alongside acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropractic, osteopathy is, in most Member States, a ‘non-conventional’ medicine. In Belgium, for example, osteopathy has been governed by law since 1999, but it has not yet been granted official recognition by the authorities. With debates taking place at national level as to whether osteopathy should be given full conventional medicine status, a standardisation process has been set up at European level in an effort to establish a European standard for ‘services’ in osteopathy (CEN/TC 414).
1. Could the Commission state whether standard CEN/TC 414 is already being applied in some Member States? Is the Commission aware of any cases in which the standard falls foul of specific national rules and regulations?
2. Does the Commission yet have any figures it can share as regards the extent to which the common standard has spread around the Member States, in particular in terms of improvements in osteopathic diagnosis and in the treatments and care provided to patients?
3. From a broader perspective, does the Commission think that the example set by the UK — the first European country to fully recognise osteopathic medicine — is one that the rest of the EU should follow?
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission
The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) is an independent body, which develops voluntary European standards at the request of the national standardisation bodies. The European Commission has no competence to monitor the application of CEN standards in the Member States and therefore has no information or figures on the national implementation of the CEN TC/414 for services in osteopathy. Information on whether National Standardisation Bodies (NSBs) list the standard might be available on their websites. Information on the extent to which standards are being used in the market tends not to be available.
The Commission respects the responsibilities of the Member State for the definition of their health policy and for the organisation and delivery of their healthcare in accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The recognition of osteopathic medicine is a matter for each Member State to decide. Thus every Member State can decide, within the limits of Union law and more particularly proportionality, whether or not to regulate the profession of osteopath in its legal system and how to regulate it.
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