On the 27th of September, Transport Ministers from seven EU countries (France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Belgium and Luxembourg) and Norway expressed through a letter to Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, their joint position concerning the application of European legislation to international road haulage.
In the letter they asked the Commission to examine the consequences of the “abusive practices” and to fight against “fierce competition” in the road transport sector. They emphasised that they support the free movement of services and the free flow of goods within the European Internal Market. However, there are major distortion of the founding principles of the Union, which must be addressed in a proper manner.
The Ministers called the Commission to take extensive measures to prevent such improper practices, giving the example of actions taken by several EU countries, for example the French law which forbids drivers from spending their regular weekly rest period in the driver’s cab.
The signatories explicitly emphasized that regulations to this effect at EU level should be preferred over national measures. They requested the European Commission to take account of their concern with regard to social aspects and safety issues in the road haulage sector, specifically mentioning the following points:
· Ban on the practice of spending the regular weekly rest period in the driver’s cab.
· Strengthening and harmonisation of the controls. It essential that the application of similar rules and social standards at EU level is the prerequisite for any discussion on further liberalization steps in the road haulage market.
· Measures suppressing the activities of letter box companies and other improper practices.
· Measures to prevent the disproportionate development of the use of light commercial vehicles for international transport operations.
The Members pointed out that solutions and regulations should be found at EU level rather than national level.
FEDEMAC supports the initiative of calling the European Commission for further harmonisation at EU level. The recent steps taken at national level have been creating distortion of the internal market and unnecessary bureaucracy. Rules should be the same in the European Union.