PhD Defense Lavinia Kortese “The Recognition of Qualifications in the EU: Blurring the Lines of Competences between the Internal Market and Education”

On Thursday 28 May at 12 o’clock, Lavinia Kortese will defend her PhD “The Recognition of Qualifications in the EU: Blurring the Lines of Competences between the Internal Market and Education”. The defense will take place in the Aula, at the Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht.


  • Prof. dr. H. Schneider
  • mr. dr. S. Claessens, LL.M.
  • mr. dr. S. Schoenmaekers, LL.M.


Before individuals with a desire to work or study in another Member State are able to do so, they need to make sure that they will be granted access to the host Member State’s labour market or educational system. In many cases, recognition of their professional or academic qualifications is a prerequisite to working or studying in a second Member State. Underlying the recognition of qualifications is a theoretical distinction between two types of recognition: professional recognition related to working in another Member State and academic recognition for those who want to study in a second Member State. Originally of a theoretical nature, this distinction has been accompanied by a division in EU competences. Whereas professional recognition falls within the scope of the EU’s internal market competence, academic recognition falls under the restrictive EU competence in the area of education and culture.

In this context, it is clear that the EU is the main actor on professional recognition. The recently modernized Directive 2005/36/EC regulates access to another Member State’s labour market for those professionals exercising a regulated profession. Access for non-regulated professions falls within the scope of the free movement Articles in the Treaties, meaning access to such professions is largely dependent on the decision of the employer. The situation for academic recognition is less clear-cut. Being outside the scope of the EU’s competence to create hard law, the area is dominated by various actors who also create their own legislation and cooperation initiatives. This has resulted in a factor complicating the area of the recognition of qualifications: EU Member States both implement the EU Directive on professional recognition, but also take part in non-EU academic recognition initiatives that need to be implemented in their national legal orders. What are the consequences of this disparity of legal instruments? How does this affect the free movement of persons? Located at the border between two strongly different competences, this PhD research seeks to provide answers to the aforementioned questions and strives to provide solutions to the longstanding issue of the recognition of qualifications.