Freedom of Establishment : Commission Questions Nationality Requirement for Notaries

Article excerpt

The European Commission sent reasoned opinions to seven member states for breaching EU laws by only permitting their own citizens to become notaries. Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are being asked to change respective legislation. The seven now have two months in which to send a satisfactory reply'. After this, the Commission may go to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The Commission is also taking action against the seven EU states as regards notary qualifications. Brussels favours a 'less restrictive method' of proving necessary knowledge of national law, such as aptitude tests or probationary periods, by applying the directive on the recognition of diplomas (89/48/EEC). France has already transposed the directive. Portugal, which together with Spain and Italy has abolished the contentious nationality condition, will receive a reasoned opinion for not transposing directive 89/48/EEC as regards notaries.

A further nine states, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, are to receive letters of formal notice', stage one in the infringement procedure. The Commission is examining similar restrictions in these new member states.

'I don't understand the Commission's reasoning. We notaries fall completely under Article 45,' said Jacques Delvaux, president of the Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE). …