Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications supports the concern of EU countries about possible restriction of competition for carriers

Date

2016 06 08

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Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Rimantas Sinkevičius has signed a letter initiated by transport ministers of the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia). In the letter addressed to EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc, the ministers expressed their concerned about national legal acts that were adopted in recent years in some EU countries – Germany, France and Belgium. According to the ministers, these legal acts may create barriers for the free movement of goods and services in the common market.    

The letter was also signed by the transport ministers of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Malta, Slovenia and Romania.

The letter draws attention to the fact that a new German law – the German Minimum Wage Act – that entered into force on 1 January 2015 introduced the minimum wage of € 8.5 per hour for workers in Germany. This legislation is also applicable to the workers of foreign companies working in Germany and foreign carriers providing transport services in Germany, except transit carriers.

In 2015, Belgium and France passed national legislation which requires that drivers take their weekly rest away from the truck. In case of offences high fines will be applicable: in Belgium the fine will be € 1800, in France the fine can reach € 30,000.

A new French law to take effect on 1 July 2016 will impose minimum wage regulations on foreign drivers plying international routes to and from France. The drivers will be eligible to the minimum hourly wage of € 9.61. Under the law the employers of drivers will be obliged to provide a French competent institution with a certificate indicating a wage paid to a driver and hand the copy of the certificated to the driver.

The letter signed by the transport ministers of eleven EU countries highlights the fact that such national measures may restrict fair competition and even divide the common market of the European Union.

In January 2016, Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications together with transport ministers of ten EU countries signed a letter requesting the European Commission to present the opinion of the European Union on the compliance of the German law with EU legislation.