Following the European Parliament’s vote to reopen discussions on key legislative proposals included in the first Mobility Package, agreements are urgently needed to ensure that the road transport sector can continue to drive the European economy.
MEPs must now focus on the next vote in early July, making sure that further revisions to the proposed laws focus on balanced EU-wide solutions and put a stop to the continuing major inconsistencies across Member States.
Matthias Maedge, leading IRU’s work in Brussels, commented: “The mandates were far from perfect, but we cannot surrender to a chaotic patchwork of national interpretation of road transport rules. Inter-institutional talks need to start quickly and progress. We urgently require solutions at EU level. The debate must concentrate on practical and enforceable rules.”
With 70% of freight transported by road, and a 60% projected growth of freight volumes by 2050, alongside passenger transport growth of 42% over the same period, the EU’s failure to resolve its road transport governance has a significant economic cost.
The European Parliament plenary rejected key EP TRAN (transport committee) mandates due to disagreement between MEPs and member countries.
Access to the profession, access to the road haulage market and driving and rest time rules are all still under discussion. The introduction of a special law for the application of posting of workers rules within road transport also fell through.
On the driving and rest time rules, some useful prior negotiations around road safety, business and driver interests were not taken into consideration.
IRU also regrets that important amendments on passenger transport fell behind with an agenda overly focused on freight. The opportunity to recognise the specific nature of bus and coach services must be kept, including tailored-made rules on posting of workers and driving and rest times for coach tourism. The progress made on allowing dedicated derogations for the European coach tourism sector and its drivers must not be jeopardised.
IRU will continue the dialogue with MEPs and other European Institutions to refocus the debate on key issues such as the introduction of a 4-week reference period, the possibility to attach compensation to daily, reduced and regular weekly rest, and the removal of the obligation for drivers to keep documents on board for a 56-day period.