Concern of the Baltic ministers about the carriers’ futures was referred to the European Commissioner

Date

2018 10 30

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In order to ensure favourable and competitive conditions to the domestic carriers, the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian ministers met the European Commissioner for transport and mobility, Mrs. Violeta Bulc, and presented their common position about the essential provisions of the set of legal acts of Mobility package.

“It is a pity we have to state that the current compromise of the mobility package is distant from its primary goals. Instead of attempt to modernize the sector and find a balance between wider competition and better social and work conditions, we see a proposal to introduce unreasonable restrictions and to push our carriers out of the market of other countries,” – said the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. Rokas Masiulis.

One of the biggest concerns encountered by the Baltic States and other countries on the margins of the European Union (EU) is the requirement to return the cargo vehicle to the country of registration periodically. In the opinion of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, such a requirement is protectionist, unfavourable to the countries located on the margins of the European Union, and it would restrict flexibility of carriers when the carriage of goods is organized. The mandatory returning of empty trucks would also have big negative impact on the environment – with regard to this aspect, it is attempted in the EU to reduce the movement of empty vehicles as much as possible.

Besides, we are worried that the new rules of drivers’ secondment will fragment the European international transport market, because different conditions will be set for the countries, the carriers of which are working on bilateral grounds.

“We have to create a common, single transport space in the European Union, so splitting of the international transport market should be regarded as a proposal contrary to the EU objectives and as a step backwards regarding the achievements already made in the area of market’s integration”, – told the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. R. Masiulis.

Following the Lithuanian initiative, these issues were discussed in Graz (Austria) by the Polish, Latvian, Estonian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Maltese and Irish ministers and representatives of their ministries. Lithuania has submitted its evaluation of the mobility package to other EU Member States, members of the European Parliament and international business associations.

The Lithuanian concerns are supported by the International Road Transport Union (IRU), which published an open letter, where it expressed its negative attitude to the proposal to return the vehicles to the country of their registration regularly.

Instead of excessive requirements, Lithuania encourages to solve relevant issues on the rest of drivers. It should be noted that at present there is lack of special lots suitable for drivers’ rest in Europe. The infrastructure of the necessary services is missing, so it is necessary to establish means, how to expand network of such infrastructure.

While the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council aims at an agreement on the mobility package in the meeting of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council on 3rd of December, some countries are worried that if the agreement is rushed, mistakes having especially negative impact on road transport sector and the EU economy may be made for the sake of political agreement.