The European Commission has accused Ireland of imposing unjustified restrictions on nurses and midwives from other EU member states by excessively limiting the types of proof that they are allowed to use to attest their language knowledge.

The Commission has opened an infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to Ireland for failing to comply with the Professional Qualifications Directive.

This Directive facilitates the professional mobility and recognition of qualifications across the borders within the EU.

"These EU rules play an essential part in addressing the shortages of skilled labour across the EU," the Commission said in a statement.

"This is especially true for the healthcare sector which has been particularly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, by helping to better reallocate skilled professionals where needed," the Commission added.

Ireland now has two months to respond to the arguments raised by the Commission, otherwise it may decide to send a reasoned opinion to Ireland.