Mobility for students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers
Free movement for students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers within the European Union (EU) is still impeded by numerous administrative, regulatory and cultural obstacles. The European Parliament and Council wish to encourage Member States to remove all such obstacles to mobility so that the individuals concerned benefit in full from the provisions of the European acquis in the field of free movement.
Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 July 2001 on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers [Official Journal L 215 of 9.8.2001].
Free movement of persons, which is one of the basic principles of the Treaty on European Union (EU), is not confined to workers. As the idea of European citizenship gains credence within the Union, arrangements need to be made to ensure that people who do not yet work can take advantage of it. Despite the existence of a legislative framework concerning freedom of movement for workers and recognition of vocational qualifications, and the existence of numerous European exchange programmes, obstacles still exist to the effective mobility of students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers.
Obstacles to be overcome
The remaining obstacles to freedom of movement must be removed in order to ensure that educational and vocational training programmes have a European dimension.
The Recommendation indicates a series of conditions that need to be fulfilled by the Member States in order to ensure effective freedom of movement of students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers within the EU. These include:
- recognition of vocational qualifications and experience acquired in the host Member State;
- harmonisation of the status accorded by Member States to students, persons undergoing training, teachers and trainers, particularly with regard to right of residence, employment law, social security and taxation;
- effective elimination of double taxation.
Appropriate measures to encourage the mobility of persons covered by the Recommendation should complement measures already implemented in the European programmes in the fields of education, training and youth, such as the Lifelong Learning Programme and Youth in Action.
Member States are called on to take the measures they consider appropriate in order to:
- remove the legal and administrative obstacles to the mobility of persons;
- reduce linguistic and cultural obstacles;
- promote the development of the various forms of financial support for mobility, facilitate the portability of scholarships, national aids and other support arrangements;
- extend to persons participating in mobility schemes the benefits (other than social security benefits) available to the same categories of persons in the host State, such as fare reductions for public transport, financial assistance with accommodation and meals, etc.;
- encourage the creation of a European qualification area;
- facilitate access to all useful information.
Measures proposed by the Recommendation which specifically concern students include:
- facilitate the recognition in the home Member State of the period of study undertaken in the host Member State. To this end, use of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), which guarantees the recognition of academic experience as a result of a contract drawn up in advance between the student and the home and host establishments, should be encouraged;
- ensure that the decisions of the competent authorities responsible for academic recognition are made within reasonable timescales, are justified and are open to administrative and/or legal appeal;
- encourage educational establishments to issue a European supplement as an administrative annexe to the diploma, describing the studies undertaken, in order to facilitate their recognition;
- take appropriate measures to make it easier for students on mobility schemes to prove that they have the health cover or insurance needed in order to obtain a residence permit.
Measures proposed by the Recommendation which specifically concern persons undergoing training include:
- facilitate the recognition of the training undertaken in another country, particularly using the Europass Training document;
- encourage the use of more transparent models for vocational training certificates. For example, official national certificates should be accompanied by a translation of the certificate and/or a European certificate supplement;
- take appropriate measures to make it easier for persons undergoing training to prove that they have the financial resources needed in order to obtain a residence permit.
Measures proposed by the Recommendation which specifically concern young volunteers include:
- ensure that the specific nature of voluntary activity is taken into account in national legal and administrative measures;
- promote the introduction of a certificate of participation for persons who have taken part in voluntary activity projects (such as Youthpass), with a view to bringing about a common European format for curricula vitae;
- avoid any discrimination against volunteers on transnational mobility schemes in terms of entitlement to social protection measures.
Measures proposed by the Recommendation which specifically concern teachers and trainers include:
- promote the European mobility of teachers and trainers by making arrangements for the temporary replacement of teachers and introducing European training periods;
- encourage the introduction of a European dimension in training programmes for teachers and trainers by encouraging contacts between establishments within Europe which train teachers and trainers;
- promote inclusion of European mobility experience as a component of the careers of teachers and trainers.
The Commission is specifically called on to:
- set up a group of experts in order to permit exchanges of information and experience concerning the implementation of the Recommendation and of the Action Plan for Mobility;
- submit every two years an analytical summary of the national reports on the implementation of the Rrecommendation;
- study the procedures for introducing a pass for schoolchildren/students/trainees/volunteers within the EU, giving holders entitlement to various concessions during their period of mobility;
- draw up proposals designed to promote the transparency of professional qualifications and the exchange of information on opportunities for studying, performing voluntary work or teaching in other Member States.