Commission proposes harmonised professional qualifications across EU waterways

18 February 2016

The European Commission proposes to enhance the mobility of inland navigation crew members and provide new career prospects. Today, workers in the inland shipping sector face difficulties having their qualifications recognised in other Member States. This is impacting negatively on the development of inland shipping and the people interested in working in the sector, particularly because of its cross-border nature. The existing EU legislative framework is limited to the mutual recognition of boatmasters operating on inland waterways outside the Rhine river.

The proposed directive aims to increase the talent pool available to industry in inland waterways transportation by extending the scope of recognition of professional qualifications beyond the level of boatmasters to all crew involved in the operation of vessels, including on the Rhine river. In order to ensure a high level of safety and instil the necessary confidence between the Member States authorities which is a prerequisite for such recognition, this initiative also proposes to base the recognition of the professional qualifications on the competences which are needed for the operation of vessels.

The directive covers:

  • Setting common standards for certificates for boatmasters and other persons involved in the operation of a vessel navigating on EU inland waterways
  • Laying down common criteria and procedures for the assessment of required competencies
  • Setting criteria ensuring that requirements related to the knowledge of specific situations on specific inland waterway stretches are proportionate to their safety goal.

The proposal for a directive on the recognition of professional qualifications of skilled workers in inland navigation throughout the European Union will replace Directives 91/672/EC and 96/50/EC.

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Commission proposes harmonised professional qualifications across EU waterways