Myth: An “obscure” EC law (Directive 90/364) has recently come into force allowing European secondary school pupils the chance to spend a year abroad in an EC Member State, without paying for their education and without need for their parents to live in that same country.
Response: This is not true. Two points have been confused which ought to be clearly distinguished: 1.) Access to education, and 2.) Right of residence.
1. Access to education. Education itself is not an area of Community competence.
Article 128 of the EEC Treaty, however, gives the Community competence in the field of vocational training. The Court of Justice has specified that the conditions of access to vocational training are enshrined in the EEC Treaty and that the terms vocational training are defined as any form of education which is linked to the ultimate practice of a profession. Community law does not imply that pupils have free access to either schools or boarding schools in the UK.
2. Right of residence. Directive EEC/90/364 is aimed at granting the right of residence to persons who do not have this right under existing Community law on two conditions:
1.) the possession of sufficient resources to maintain themselves, and 2.) appropriate medical insurance. On the basis of this Directive pupils would qualify for the right of residence. However this Directive, which should have been transposed into national law by the Member States by 30.6.92. at the latest, has not yet been implemented in the UK.
Regarding the right of residence, it should be remembered that for students this is enshrined in the Directive on the right of residence for students (EEC/90/366; L180/90). The right of residence for students based on Community law (see also the judgement in the Raulin case – European Court of Justice, 26.2.92; also Directive EEC/90/364 on the right of residence for students) applies only to persons following a course of vocational training, and not to pupils.
It should also be pointed out that no EC directive can be described as obscure since all are published in the Official Journal of the European Community.