If its trading partners offer concessions in return, Brussels says it is prepared to allow ‘foreign accountants to review and compile financial statements and other accounting information for European clients’.
In its detailed paper, the Commission said it is prepared to negotiate away restrictions on the employment of non-EU accountants in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain and Sweden requiring them to have university degrees, professional qualifications and three years experience. It will also release non-EU accountants from having to take a special professional examination in Austria.
The commission is also explicitly renouncing the right of its member states to impose a ‘condition of nationality’ on employment as an accountant.
Releasing the proposal, EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy said: ‘The offer that is being tabled is tailored to ensure that public services within the EU are fully safeguarded, and that we keep our ability to set the rules that service providers will have to respect.’
The focus will now switch to Geneva, where bilateral horsetrading over the next two years will reveal whether the EU will secure enough concessions to make these openings in the European accounting market.
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