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Inland navigation: Council approves general approach to allow continued work by non-EU nationals

The Council recently (03 June 2021) agreed its position on a proposal which fills a gap in legislation and enables member states to continue using non-EU nationals in the inland navigation sector. Crew members holding third country certificates represent a significant workforce, especially on certain waterways within the EU, in a sector which already suffers from a deficit of qualified workers.

Pedro Nuno Santos, Portuguese Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, President of the Council recently said:

Inland navigation is one of the safest and greenest modes of transport, and an important element in achieving climate neutrality in line with the European Green Deal. The amendment will ensure legal clarity and certainty and bring continuity to companies and workers active in the inland waterway transport sector.

Under the Council position, member states may continue to recognise certificates issued by a non-EU country before 18 January 2024. The Council has also clarified the provisions on transposition to provide legal certainty.

The general approach agreed recently allows the presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament on the final text.

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