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The European Commission is preparing an initiative on the recognition and modernisation of professional qualifications in inland navigation. The goal of the initiative is the removal of barriers between EU Member States for exercising professions in the field of inland navigation, thus subscribing to the main goal of the EC common transport policy of the free movement of persons and goods across the EU. The harmonisation of national legal and administrative regulations is of high importance for creating fair conditions for competition within and between the different transport modes.
As stated in the EC White Paper Transport 2011, market opening needs to go hand in hand with quality jobs and working conditions, as human resources are a crucial component of any high quality transport system. In inland navigation the enlargement of the EU in 2004 and 2007 brought about the need for further integration of the new Member States' inland waterway networks into the EU inland waterway network.
An initiative on the recognition and modernisation of professional qualifications in inland navigation is one of the measures required to accomplish the single market in inland navigation and is as such also included in the recent Staff Working Document – Towards NAIADES II. It aims mainly at facilitating free access to the labour market in inland navigation and free movement of labour across the EU, i.e. labour mobility.
The policy field affected by the initiative is partially regulated by Directive 96/50/EC on the harmonization of the conditions for obtaining national boatmasters' certificates for the carriage of goods and passengers by inland waterway in the Community and by Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications applicable to all IWT professions not covered by specific sector EU legislation. To some considerable extent the new initiative can build upon work already carried out under NAIADES I, in particular, by the PLATINA Joint Working Group on professional qualifications, which elaborated standards of professional competencies in inland navigation.
This consultation process is managed by the European Commission and intends to seek feedback from stakeholders as part of the impact assessment for this new initiative.
The problem in a nutshell
There are indications that barriers persist for the mobility of workers within the European inland navigation sector. This could harm the attractiveness of the profession and the overall competitiveness of the inland navigation sector. The underlying problem can be formulated as following:
- Labour mobility in inland navigation is restricted by the existence of multiple national or transnational rules and regulations related to requirements for the professional qualifications necessary to work in a certain region or on a certain river. The requirements for qualifications, training standards and curricula for workers from inside and outside the sector are not harmonised at EU level and lack of harmonisation make it difficult to receive acknowledgement for qualifications obtained in other Member States. Moreover, differences in qualifications and training standards may lead to unsafe situations for instance due to communication problems.
Scope of the initiative
- The initiative covers both freight and passenger transport in inland navigation.
- The initiative covers the EU waterways open to inland navigation and follows the definition, as included in Directive 96/50/EC.
- The initiative is focused on professional transport of goods and persons. Private, leisure boats are excluded.
- The initiative is aimed at professional qualifications and training standards for all functions and crew members on board inland navigation vessels. Please note that in Directive 96/50/EC only the function of boatmaster is addressed.
Contributions may be submitted in any official EU language. Nevertheless, in order to facilitate the work and allow easy access to all submission, we would appreciate it if contributions could be submitted in the English language or, in the absence thereof, at least a summary in the English language.
As part of the European Transparency Initiative, organisations are invited to use the Register of interest representatives to provide the European Commission and the public at large with information about their objectives, funding and structures. If you are not registered yet in this register, please visit: http://europa.eu/transparency-register/index_en.htm
Please note that this document has been drafted for information and consultation purposes only. It has not been adopted or in any way approved by the European Commission and should not be regarded as representative of the views of Commission staff. It does not in any way prejudge, or constitute the announcement of, any position on the part of the Commission on the issues covered. The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.