The veterinary profession is a regulated profession in Europe. In order to be licensed to practice, the candidate has to follow a comprehensive training programme. In order to facilitate the free movement of veterinarians within the EU, minimum training requirements for the recognition of professional qualifications are laid down in the EU legislation.
After graduation, veterinarians shall ensure that they maintain and develop their qualifications by following appropriate continuous professional development and training. Additionally a number of veterinarians develop knowledge, skills and competences in a specific direction or area, study that part in great detail and become ‘specialists’.

Society will always need high-level veterinary services, that is to say veterinarians with advanced skills as well as veterinary Specialists. To obtain the most out of veterinary specialisation in terms of benefits for the animals, their owners, society and the veterinary profession, the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS) together with their Specialist Colleges and the rest of the profession and academia, should first identify the primary objectives of veterinary specialisation in a broad societal context. The tools necessary to achieve these objectives, such as standards and quality assurance, can then follow in relation to the needs.