Wednesday

30th Nov 2022

MEPs give green light to road transport sector reform

  • Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria alone would emit an additional 3.2m tonnes of CO2 per year under the new rules (Photo: David Basanta)

MEPs gave the green light on Thursday (9 July) to the Mobility Package covering truck drivers' working conditions - rejecting all amendments pushed from central and eastern member states.

After three years of negotiations, MEPs still had to endorse all three legal acts of the package - as adopted by EU ministers in April.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The new rules will force trucks to return to the company's operational centre every eight weeks, give drivers the right to return home at regular intervals and guarantee that their rest periods are outside their vehicle - with employers covering the cost of accommodation.

"The mobility package promotes fair competition between operators and improves road safety as well as drivers' working conditions," said MEP Henna Virkkunen from the European People's Party.

"The European single market cannot properly function without fair common rules which are uniformly controlled and enforced," she added.

However, more right-wing MEPs have described the new EU rules as being harmful to the single market.

"The mobility package is a clear example of economic protectionism," said MEP Kosma Zlotowski from the European Conservatives and Reformists, who claims that the new rules discriminate against transport companies from countries such as Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Baltic States.

Litigation threat?

Ahead of the vote in plenary, ministers of transport and foreign affairs from nine member states called on the EU parliament to reject the provisions related to the vehicle's return to the country of establishment.

The request of Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta and Romania is based on "deep concern" about the road transport sector, which was severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, plus on the EU single market and the Green Deal, they said in a letter sent to MEPs last week.

Lithuanian vice-minister for transport, Gytis Mazeika, described the signing off as "a point of no return on one hand and preparation for litigation on the other" since his country has expressed it's intent to bring the issue to the European Court of Justice.

Meanwhile, EU commissioner for transport Adina Vălean warned that some of the new rules might be not aligned with the Green Deal - referring to the compulsory return of the vehicle every eight weeks, and the restrictions imposed on combined transport operations.

The commission will now present by the end of the year a risk assessment on the impact of these two aspects on the environment and EU's single market.

According to the Lithuanian International Transport and Logistics Alliance, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria alone would emit an additional 3.2m tonnes of CO2 per year under the new rules.

"The commission, if necessary, will exercise its right to come forward with a targeted legislative proposal before the two provisions enter into force," said Vălean in a statement.

The adopted rules will enter into force 18 months after they are published in the EU's official journal.

Magazine

Tackling climate change through transport

Getting the mobility package done in the short-term, and helping to change modes of transportation in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will be key priorities for the transport and tourism committee.

MEPs call for end to 'social dumping' in road sector

The European Parliament said that future EU rules should put an end to unfair competition in the transport sector. But Eastern European MEPs fear this would undermine the single market.

EU commission wants 30 million electric cars by 2030

The EU's new mobility strategy aims to reduce transport's carbon footprint by 90 percent by 2050 - with the electrification of road transport, the use of biofuels and more high-speed rail traffic. But no ban on short-haul flights.

Swedish EU presidency: 'Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine'

Ukraine and a looming economic recession is set to dominate the upcoming Swedish EU presidency, which takes over at the start of next year. Sweden's ambassador to the EU, Lars Danielsson, laid out some of its priorities.

French official accused of conflict over EU fish lobby job

A senior French official is being accused of conflicts of interest for spearheading a leading role in Europeche, a fishing-industry lobby group based in Brussels. The hire comes as the EU Commission threatens a lawsuit against France over fishing.

Catalan spyware victims demand justice

Victims of the widening spyware scandal in Spain are demanding justice and reparations, following the revelations that journalists, lawyers, civil society and politicians had been targeted.

Investigation

EU lawmakers under pressure to act on 90,000 asbestos deaths

The EU Commission has watered-down a broad political initiative —but now governments of member states hold the key to what the EU should do. Some member states and regions have adopted asbestos strategies of some kind, from Poland to Flanders.

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  2. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  3. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs
  4. Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?
  5. Why the EU asbestos directive revision ... needs revising
  6. Nato renews membership vow to Ukraine
  7. Catalan spyware victims demand justice
  8. Is the overwhelming critique of Qatar hypocritical?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us