In recognition of the narrow deal struck by EU Transport Ministers on key files included in Mobility Package 1, IRU calls on decision makers not to lose sight of fundamentally important requirements for the road transport industry in future negotiations.
Moving forward at European Parliament level, IRU remains supportive of finding compromise solutions but urges negotiators to respect five main principles to ensure the successful functioning of the internal market:
1. Derogations for passenger transport: the bus and coach business is fundamentally different from the goods transport business, moving people and not cargo. Rules have to allow for more flexibility in line with the seasonal nature of the business in order to serve customers better (12-day derogation to be extended to national transport and extension of daily duty time by one hour twice a week). Additionally, passenger transport requires specific enforcement rules regarding posting.
2. Taking the regular weekly rest in the cabin in safe and secure truck parking areas: drivers should be able to rest in safe, comfortable and secure conditions. The truck cabin is not the problem, a much faster development of safe and secure parking areas is needed to ensure appropriate resting conditions for drivers. The European Parliament and Member States must not waver on this commitment.
3. Implement a genuine 4 weeks reference period: drivers should be allowed to return home to their families and not be forced to artificially extend their international trip. Flexibility on driving time does NOT jeopardise safety and helps international drivers and operators, who are responsible for 80% of the freight capacity, to work in a more flexible way. Proper rest should be taken at home or the country of establishment and not in parking areas.
4. No additional criteria to access to the profession: any obligatory and operationally unnecessary return home of the vehicle within a short time frame will substantially increase traffic, congestion and emissions. Incentives will work more successfully than penalties.
5. Road freight cabotage: a cooling-off period would unnecessarily restrict the road haulage market, while enforceability of existing cabotage rules is key. It should be considered that the introduction of a cooling-off period is disproportionate in case of the regular return home of the driver.
These requirements must be safeguarded in the compromises to be achieved in the final stage of negotiations between the three European institutions, in the interest of society, economy, drivers and businesses.
Matthias Maedge, who leads IRU’s work in the EU, comments: “We welcome some progress, including special recognition of passenger transport in the context of posting, but work remains to be done. The main objectives for IRU remain safety, practicality and sustainability and we understand that this is also the working spirit in the institutions. IRU encourages EU legislators to unite behind these principles, and supports them on the last mile of negotiations. We need clarity before EU elections.”