More than 130 participants from 26 countries attended the 2nd European Midwives Association (EMA) Education conference, which took place in Berlin, Germany, 7-8 December 2007. The majority of participants came from European countries but colleagues from Peru and New Zealand were also welcomed. Conference participants were midwives and midwife educators who are involved or interested in present and future midwifery education but also included researchers. The discussions also benefited from midwifery students who bringing their experiences.
Midwifery education in the European Union
One of the main goals of EMA is to promote minimum standards of midwifery education within the European Union (EU). A first education conference was held in Stockholm in 2004, and this created ah invaluable arena to discuss midwifery education in Europe. After this conference it was clear that the discussion has to be continued. New and rapidly changing challenges in the health care sector demand that the education of midwives is continuously reviewed and improved. One of the greatest priorities is the development of midwifery education at all levels according to the Bologna Declaration (http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/educ/ bologna/bologna.pdf).
Furthermore it is necessary to understand the various levels and standards of midwifery education within the EU, especially in the new member states. As midwives are allowed to move freely within the EU, EMA wanted to provide an opportunity for discussion, networking and collaboration between midwives, different organisations and countries to realise this mobility and to work it out to the benefit and safety of mothers and children.
The Berlin conference ran for two days. It was opened with warm welcomes from Deirdre Daly, president of EMA, and Helga Albrecht, president of the Bund Deutscher Hebammen (BDH).
The conference's keynote speaker, Pamela Brumter-Coret, Head of European Commission Unit for the Regulated Professions, DG Internal Market, demonstrated why a European perspective is essential for midwifery in Europe in 2007. Ms Brumter-Coret explained the legal framework for the training of midwives at EU level. The Directive 2005/36/EC on recognition of professional qualifications, which entered into force in 2007, has replaced Directives 80/154/EC and 80/155/EC. Its objective is to ensure the mobility of midwives within the EU through harmonising minimal...