IRU gathered representatives from EU28 countries to call on the Brexit negotiators to pay urgent attention to road transport sector-specific issues.
The UK is the EU’s second biggest trading partner and the EU is the UK’s most important partner to trade with. In 2016, eight million freight units were transported between the UK and the EU27 mainly by road. Any changes to this deep integration between the EU and the UK will have an adverse impact on goods and passenger operations in the EU and/or the UK, as well as on the European economy in general.
As UK and EU negotiators have recently initiated discussions on their future relationships, IRU has been engaging at an event on May 23 with officials of EU28 countries to share its concerns regarding the post-Brexit framework. IRU highlighted the importance of keeping road transport operations between the UK and EU27 as seamless as possible both from the market access and the customs point of view.
In the case of the UK leaving the customs union, IRU urged the UK and EU to take steps to minimise disruption. Therefore, the UK should remain a member of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) and use other trade facilitation systems such as TIR. Moreover, for businesses and citizens, there should be no increase of border controls for entry and exit to and from the UK of coaches carrying groups of tourists.
Access to the profession and access to the market were other issues debated during the event. Currently, a transport company registered in the EU can operate in any of its 28 countries if it meets the following criteria: appropriate financial standing; proven professional competence; good repute within the industry and effective and stable establishment in the EU. Post-Brexit, IRU considers sufficient for a road transport operator to be established in the EU or in the UK to conduct international road transport operations whilst respecting the other three above mentioned criteria.
Participants also agreed on the importance of mutual recognition of driving licenses and other certificates post Brexit. IRU warmly welcomes the fact that the UK ratified the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic from 1968 which supports continued mutual recognition of licences.
Matthias Maedge, who leads IRU’s work in the EU, said: “The road transport industry must have clarity on the post-Brexit framework to support proper business planning. Good customs solutions are key, we cannot afford to have long queues at borders and need to work with NCTS and eTIR to facilitate transit. We hope that with today’s event, we have been able to share our concerns with key stakeholders in Brussels involved in Brexit negotiations“.