The topic of mutual recognition of professional qualifications in sport has been on the EU’s agenda for a number of years; and with it the particular issue of ski instructors’ qualifications. It has been dealt with by the Commission Expert Groups and followed up by a Council Expert Group under the 2011-2014 Work Plan. It is now on the agenda of the Expert Group on Human Resource Development in Sport.
What is at stake? The profession of ski instructors is regulated to a different degree (or not at all) across the EU Member States and consequently the applicable formal and practical requirements also differ from one country to another. Therefore, it has been a common practice in some, mainly Alpine, Member States to apply very complex national rules making it difficult for non-national professional ski instructors to exercise their profession in the given Member State/region. This has impeded, to a certain extent, one of their basic rights under the EU Single Market - the freedom of movement of services.
The European Commission, together with the Members States and sport experts started working on overcoming this problem and the first concrete result of these efforts was a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing a pilot project for a professional card for ski instructors. The MoU, adopted in 2012 by nine Member States, was intended to substitute and ease those complex and detailed national requirements for the recognition of professional ski instructors’ qualification. In any of these countries, ski instructors who held the highest ski instructor qualification and had successfully taken two specific tests (‘Eurotest’ and ‘Eurosecurity test’) could obtain a pilot professional card in their country of origin.
Since the MoU was originally agreed for a limited time only, there are ongoing discussions on applying the newly created possibility (introduced by the reviewed Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications) of setting up a ‘Common Training Test’ for ski instructors, to replace the Memorandum of Understanding.
In order to assess the state of play and map the current situation in all EU Member States, the EU has commissioned a study dedicated to this subject. The study, published in January 2016, is to provide a knowledge base for the future implementation of the Test.
The Common Training Test is now under development and should enter into force this year. Its objective is to make it simpler for ski instructors from the EU to practice their profession in skiing destinations across the EU Member States.