The Town Planners’ Liaison Committee

(Source: Statutes of the International Association SEPLIS)

The right of professionals to practise, as foreseen under the Treaty of Rome (EEC 1957), created a number of problems for the freedom of the Liberal Professions to offer services in terms of the criteria for training and adapting their profession in the Member States.

To address this issue, the European Commission set up a department for the Liberal Professions in 1960, with J. P. de Crayencour as its Director. This department was dissolved when the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland joined the EEC in January 1973 and the number of Member States rose from six to nine. As a result, the representatives of the various Liberal Professions within Liaison Committees no longer had any direct contact with the Commission.

After leaving the Commission, J. P. de Crayencour therefore launched an appeal for a European Secretariat for the Liberal Professions (SEPLIS). This secretariat was created in 1974 as a result of initiatives taken by various Liaison Committees for the Liberal Professions (architects, lawyers, pharmacists etc) who were later joined by the Interprofessional Federations of the Member States.

The Town Planners Liaison Committee
(Source: ECTP directory 1988)

The Liaison Committee for Town Planners in the EEC, bringing together the various national institutes and associations of planners in the member countries, was founded within the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISoCaRP). At the end of the nineteen sixties, ISoCaRP assigned the Belgian delegation, and R. Verbanck (of Ghent) in particular, to formulate a constitution for this Liaison Committee. P. Puttemans (of Brussels) became the Secretary General at the end of the nineteen seventies, M. Delvaux (of Brussels) took over in 1982. The Liaison Committee for Town Planners became an International Association with a scientific purpose under Belgian law, and its statutes were published in the Moniteur Belge on 12 July 1979 (Royal Decree of 26 April 1979).

The Liaison Committee for the various Liberal Professions are members of SEPLIS, which is the official partner of the Economic and Social Committee (ESC) of the European Community (EC). These Liaison Committees are therefore the official channel of representation for the Liberal Professions with the European Community institutions.

Since the Liaison Committee for Town Planners was set up, the professions themselves have been responsible for preparing the documentation intended for the European Commission, with the aim of furthering the free movement and the right of establishment of their professions in all Member States. M. Lahousse (of Brussels), the delegate of Liaison Committee for Town Planners to SEPLIS and the ESC, strengthened the working relations between these bodies. The Liaison Committee was also helped by Messrs Hartley and Calvez of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Through its Secretary General, J. P. de Crayencour, SEPLIS advised the Liaison Committee for Town Planners and suggested ways of making headway in organising free movement for the professions without a European Directive specifically applied to town planners. Originally the Committee had favoured the formal concept of a European Directive. Subsequently, though, during a meeting between the Liaison Committee and representatives of the European Commission (J. J. Beuve-M+ry), the latter stated that it had been decided not to draft a Directive specifically for the town planning profession, as the Commission saw this as a non-regulated profession.

The Liaison Committee for Town Planners therefore decided to establish common rules for the profession between the national institutes and associations of Town Planners in all Member States of the EC. These rules are based on levels of training, codes of professional conducts and competence mutually recognised by all the members associations of town planners.

The European Council of Town Planners

These aims are embodied in the Charter (International Agreement and Declaration by the national associations and institutes of Town Planners in the European Community) founding the European Council of Town Planners. On 8 November 1985, the national associations of town planners which had been members of the Liaison Committee for Town Planners signed the ECTP Charter in Amsterdam and became members of ECTP. Presidents H. Crawford (of Edinburgh) and G. Franken (of Rotterdam) were responsible for the conversion of the Liaison Committee for Town Planners into ECTP.

ECTP is an International Association with a scientific purpose under Belgian law, and its statutes were published in the Moniteur Belge on 16 June 1988 (Royal Decree of 8 March 1988). Its registered office was, and still is, in Brussels.

Each national association of town planners in membership of ECTP has agreed to abide by the Charter and has pledged to respect and apply its terms. The role of ECTP is to provide a common platform for those exercising the profession of town planner, in whatever domain, in the countries of the European Union. At the same time, ECTP fulfils the role of Liaison Committee for town planners within SEPLIS for the Liberal Professions.

September 1995