EC edict sends French on the slippery slopes

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The Independent Online

French ski instructors may lack a little of their usual sang-froid this year as they whiz down the slopes in their oh-so-tight red ski suits.

The European Commission has decided that France may be breaking European law by keeping out instructors from other countries, and is threatening to get tough with Paris.

In particular, France has been charged with keeping out instructors from Britain - a country that has a claim to have invented downhill skiing.

"Ski instructors who have qualified in other member states have encountered a persistent refusal by the French authorities to recognise their diplomas," the European Commission said in a statement yesterday.

"The commission considers that French regulations concerning sport are too restrictive regarding the access of professionals with qualifications gained in other member states."

It has opened the second stage of infringement proceedings against Paris, and could go to the European Court if life does not become easier for instructors from abroad.