Danube SKILLS Increased institutional capacity in Danube navigation by boosting joint transnational competences and skills in education and public development services

Interview with Christelle Rousseau

Interview with Christelle Rousseau about the future EU Directive on recognition of professional qualifications in inland navigation

Ms. Christelle Rousseau, of Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport - DG MOVE, Unit B.3 – Ports and Inland Navigation and one of the key designers of the European Commission proposal on recognition of professional qualifications in inland navigation talked about the calendar of implementation, changes and positive impact of the new European legislation on inland navigation.

  • Why did the Commission come with a proposal on the recognition of professional qualifications in inland navigation?

CR: The proposal has the objective to enhance the mobility of inland navigation crew members and provide new career prospects. Today crew members are still facing difficulties with the recognition of their qualifications when exercising their profession in another Member State.  The mobility is essential in cross border activities and to let people move more freely where their skills are needed.

  • What is new compared to the existing legislations on boatmasters' certificates?

CR: The Commission's proposal extends the recognition of skilled workers in inland navigation as it will cover all deck crew members as well as the persons that are qualified to take measures in emergency situations on board passenger vessels and the persons qualified to be involved the bunkering procedure of a vessel using LNG as a fuel. The recognition of their qualifications will be ensured on all navigable inland waterways in the EU. The issuing of qualifications will rely on a system that is now primarily based on the competences which are needed for the operation of the vessels.

  • What is the calendar for the implementation of this future Directive?

CR: The negotiations are still ongoing so there is no certainty about the term for the adoption of the Directive.  We still hope that it can be adopted before the end of the year.  It has been provisionally agreed that the standards necessary for the implementation of the Directive (e.g.  on competences, medical fitness, requirements for simulators) would need to be adopted within two years after the entry into force of the Directive and that the Member States would then have another two years to ensure the transposition of the Directive into national law. It means that the new system could be in place at the end of 2021.

  • Could you tell us more about these standards and who will decide about their level?

CR: Technical standards will be defined for the various competences, for the practical exams, for the medical fitness, for the simulators and for a central database on crew qualifications.  Models for Union certificates of qualifications, service record book and logbooks will also be developed.  The working group on the professional qualifications of the European Committee for the elaboration of standards in inland navigation (CESNI) is already working on the four first standards.  In this working group the main stakeholders of the sector are represented, including training institutes, the social partners and authorities at national, European and River Commissions levels. Once adopted by CESNI, the standards will be incorporated in the EU and CCNR respective legislative framework.

  • Apart from the mobility, are there other positive impacts expected? 

CR: The new career prospects for both existing crew members and persons coming from other sectors should have a positive impact on the attractiveness of the profession.  With a competence based system for the award of qualifications, a positive impact is also expected on safety.

Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)