Choose your language

French protests: European Commission weighs options with IRU
EU | Brussels

French protests: European Commission weighs options with IRU

2 Feb 2024 · People, Prosperity

IRU and its member federations from France, Romania and Spain have met with EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean on actions to protect drivers and road transport services amid the ongoing French farmer protests.

Commissioner Adina Vălean invited IRU, together with its road transport association members from France (FNTR), Romania (UNTRR) and Spain (ASTIC), to discuss the situation of transport blockages and attacks against cargo transported by road in the context of the French farmer protests. The reported attacks have been targeted at Spanish and Romanian trucks carrying agricultural products and meat from Spain.

The Commissioner condemned the violence against drivers and their cargo and summarised the actions undertaken to support the sector.

EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean said, “Road transport is critical to our supply chains and internal market, and truck drivers are essential workers who provide essential and non-essential goods to European citizens and businesses. Their safety and security are paramount.”

IRU EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian said, “The situation is unacceptable. The French farmer protests are endangering professional drivers who are simply trying to do their job and get goods to EU citizens, businesses and communities.”

Commssioner Vălean mentioned several actions that she has undertaken following the signals and evidence provided by the road transport sector, including a letter addressed to Christophe Béchu, the Minister for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion of France. In her letter, the Commissioner called for urgent actions to ensure the safety of transport workers and the security of their cargo on French territory.

In parallel, the European Commission has called for an urgent meeting of the Network of National Transport Contact Points to discuss measures that Member States are planning to pursue to ensure the safe and proper functioning of the European transport network amid the spreading protests.

“We’re grateful to Commissioner Vălean for her energetic action on this vital issue. EU and Member State action is urgently needed to ensure that the situation does not spiral out of control, to keep vital trade corridors open, and, most importantly, to protect our drivers,” said Raluca Marian.

IRU and the associations also emphasised the importance of official public information on the areas where protests are expected, allowing freight to re-route.

As a next step, IRU will keep the Commission updated on how the protests, and their impact on road transport, are evolving on the ground. The Commission will closely monitor the actions that Member States are taking to protect drivers and their cargo, taking additional measures if needed.

The meeting follows an IRU letter urging the European Commission to intervene and require affected Member States to keep vital trade corridors open and ensure the free movement of goods.

More specifically, IRU called on the Commission to encourage affected Member States to take instant preventive measures to facilitate the free movement of goods by allowing unimpeded access to key trade routes, to safeguard the well-being of drivers by guaranteeing sufficient security and adequate facilities, and to encourage Member States to provide transparent information on access to motorways.