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SOLVIT, problems over the issue of the “operating licence” for a Luxembourg symphony orchestra

3 June 2022

A Luxembourg symphony orchestra on tour in Italy risked having to cancel its concert programme because of national authorities' different approaches to the “operating licence”. Thanks to SOLVIT intervention (both Italian and Luxembourgish centres), however, problems were overcome and the performances took place as planned.

But let's start from the beginning. Luxembourg Philharmonia is an amateur symphony orchestra and non-profit organisation based in Luxembourg. The orchestra had scheduled four concerts to be held, between 4 and 9 April 2022, in the theatres of Modena, Cremona, Alba and at Milan Conservatory. The organiser, Modena’s Teatro Comunale, asked each musician in the orchestra to present the so-called A1 Form, necessary to obtain the “operating licence” from ENPALS.

What is the "A1 Form"?

 The A1 Form certifies that the worker – a.k.a. "posted worker" – is insured for social security purposes in the EU country in which the posting company is based or in the country in which the self-employed activity is habitually carried out. A self-employed worker who goes to another EU country to pursue an activity similar to that carried out in the country of origin must also request an A1 Form before departure. The competent authority in Luxembourg, to which the musicians applied, refused to issue the form on the grounds that the musicians themselves are not professional workers but amateur members of a non-profit organisation. Luxembourg Philharmonia is in fact composed of musicians who are not paid for their artistic performances. However, in the absence of A1 Form, Italian authorities cannot issue the “operating licence”. A big problem that threatens to cause the cancellation of concerts for which numerous tickets had already been sold.

The “operating licence”

 This is the document that authorises workers in the performing arts to carry out their activities and must be requested by firms and organisations that perform a technical-artistic activity in the field of entertainment. Without A1 Form, the licence cannot be issued. However, the regulations provide for certain cases of exemption: the certificate is not required for the performance of events by amateurs or amateur groups. And even when revenue is expected from ticket sales, the certificate is not required for amateurs and amateur groups if the revenue is used, for instance, for association-related purposes.

Thanks to the mediation performed by the Italian SOLVIT centre, ENPALS decided to issue the “operating licence” free of charge, thus enabling the Luxembourg Philharmonia orchestra to perform its tour regularly.

The case was included among SOLVIT's “success stories” at a recent workshop of national centres and was also mentioned at an event held on 2 June in Luxembourg for SOLVIT's 20th anniversary (the narration of the case is at minute 51:30).

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