The European Parliament (EP) managed to break the deadlock on Mobility Package 1 proposals and has approved key reports on market functioning for commercial road transport. While far from perfect, the compromises found allow discussions to move forward. Trilogue negotiations will now be held to further refine these proposals.
Matthias Maedge, who is leading IRU’s activities in the EU, said: “This EP showed no interest in letting the upcoming team start from scratch on these files, and this has to be respected. It is positive that, potentially, several years of additional uncertainty and a patchwork of national solutions will be avoided. That being said, the EP’s views are not particularly strong and leave many questions unanswered.”
For passenger transport, the outcome is disappointing even if some specific posting rules for passenger transport were secured. The missed opportunity of providing tailored driving and rest time rules for coach tourism is regrettable and the possibility of evaluating and correcting this situation in the upcoming two years is a mere promise.
Mr Maedge added: “IRU will now engage with the European Commission in order to speed up this process and waste no time in finding suitable rules adapted to the specific nature of the coach tourism sector.”
The EP’s support for drivers being given the right to spend their regular weekly rest at home, every four weeks, is welcome. However, less flexibility on reduced weekly rest times would be counterproductive.
While respecting the remaining divergent views – including at the industry level – regarding some of the details, IRU regrets that important amendments highlighting the importance of safe and secure truck parking areas have been rejected. IRU calls on legislators to provide stronger support for tangibly increasing the number of safe and secure truck parking areas during the next legislature along the EU’s network.
The European road transport sector is facing the most acute professional driver shortage in decades, with 20% of driver positions unfilled. The wide availability of safe, secure and comfortable parking places is paramount in ensuring proper working conditions for professional drivers. The ongoing negotiations on Mobility Package 1 must not overlook that fact.
Last week’s vote paves the way for inter-institutional negotiations to start. IRU will continue working with EU legislators to find workable solutions, with a focus on enforceability and the practical application of the new rules for commercial road freight and passenger transport operators.