Question: (Carolina Punset (ALDE) , Javier Nart (ALDE) ) SPAIN

Osteopathy is an independent health and first aid profession that is recognised as such in a number of EU countries. The academic, professional and ethical criteria that apply to osteopathy are set out in European Standard EN 16686:2015 on ‘Osteopathic healthcare provision’. However, the profession is not yet properly regulated in some Member States, including Spain.

It is clear, in the light of the foregoing, that where osteopathy is concerned, Spain is failing to comply with Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications, and Directive 2014/54/EU on freedom of movement for workers, in that it does not allow osteopathy professionals who have received proper training in other countries to work on an equal footing in Spain.

This unsatisfactory situation has a bearing on both patient safety and on osteopathy professionals’ rights as regards recognition and freedom of movement in EU countries.

Is the Commission going to take action in response to this failure to guarantee patient safety and uphold the rights of osteopathy professionals throughout the EU?

Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the Commission:

According to the Commission’s data base, the profession of osteopathy is not regulated in most Member States, including Spain. The directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications(1) does also not foresee that certain profession have to be regulated. Instead, Member States which regulate a given profession must recognise education, training and work experience in other Member States under the relevant procedures.

As there is no harmonisation on the profession of osteopathy in Europe, the Member States are free to determine which activities they foresee for this profession. Thus, the training requirements and the reserved activities for this profession may differ from country to country. As a consequence, Spain can, for example, reserve some activities that osteopaths do in other Member States for other professions on its territory. This is in line with EC law, as long as it meets the requirements of the principle of proportionality and non-discrimination.

(1) Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications, OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 22.


See this article on the Commission’s website.

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