The European Parliament has decisively adopted the mobility package of three EU regulations, which aims to change the market situation in EU road haulage, but has been opposed to by the Baltic states, Poland and others.
The EP press service reports in a press release that on Wednesday, July 8, MEPs endorsed all three legal acts without any amendments, as adopted by EU ministers in April 2020.
The revised rules for posting of drivers, drivers’ driving times and rest periods and better enforcement of cabotage rules (i.e. transport of goods carried out by non-resident hauliers on a temporary basis in a host member state) aim to put an end to distortion of competition in the road transport sector and provide better rest conditions for drivers, according to the press release.
Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Malta, and Cyprus were against the new rules, saying that returning empty trucks hurts their hauliers financially and leaves a significant carbon footprint – at a time when the EU is striving to limit greenhouse gas emissions to help fight climate change.
The EP press service reported, however, that the new rules will help to ensure better rest conditions and allow drivers to spend more time at home. Companies will have to organise their timetables so that drivers in international freight transport are able to return home at regular intervals (every three or four weeks depending on the work schedule). The mandatory regular weekly rest cannot be taken in the truck cab. If this rest period is taken away from home, the company must pay for accommodation costs.
Perceived fairer competition and fighting illegal practices
Vehicle tachographs will be used to register border-crossings in order to tackle fraud. To prevent systematic cabotage, there will be a cooling-off period of four days before more cabotage operations can be carried out within the same country with the same vehicle.
To fight the use of letterbox companies, road haulage businesses would need to be able to demonstrate that they are substantially active in the member state in which they are registered. The new rules will also require trucks to return to the company’s operational centre every eight weeks. Using light commercial vehicles of over 2.5 tonnes will also be subject to EU rules for transport operators, including equipping the vans with a tachograph, in line with the press release.
Clear rules on posting of drivers to ensure equal pay
The new rules will give a clear legal framework to prevent differing national approaches and ensure fair remuneration for drivers. Posting rules will apply to cabotage and international transport operations, excluding transit, bilateral operations and bilateral operations with two extra loading or unloading, according to the press release.
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