The Mobility Package would cause irreversible damage for the European carriers and the community’s economics

Date

2019 03 25

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As the European Parliament is going to vote on the controversial Mobility Package, the ministers of transport and communications of five countries – Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria – referred to Mr. Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, repeatedly asking to take the defects of the Mobility Package and proposing to solve real problems of the sector.

“The growth of the Lithuanian economics is inseparable from Europe and its common market, so adoption of the Mobility Package that protects hasty and disproportionate tools would mean pushing of our carriers out the European market and this would have negative impact on our national economics, as the transport sector contributes significantly to GDP. We are trying hard to make the EU common market as open and liberal as possible, and to grant more freedom to our business; however, we meet protectionism and resistance. The countries unable to compete are undertaking measures, how to protect their market, but in such a way they are violating principles of free movement of goods and fair competition,” – says Mr. R. Masiulis, Minister of Transport and Communications.

It is feared that ambition to pass the Mobility Package urgently may be a part of election campaign to the European Parliament. The ministers of the aforementioned countries believe that approval of the Mobility Package on the eve of elections to the European Parliament is organized in order to consolidate protectionist provisions in the EU legal acts. This would cause irreversible damage to the European carriers and the community’s economics and would induce eurosceptical sentiments in the Member States.

The ministers encouraged once again to draw attention to evident drawbacks of the Mobility Package that would prevent smooth operation of internal market of road transport and would create disproportionate administrative burden to the carriers.

The requirement to return the goods vehicle to its registration country periodically remains one of the major worries. It is especially unfavourable to the countries on the EU margins. It would not simply restrict the carriers’ flexibility in organization of carriage of goods, but would also turn into burden to business and would restrict freedom of provision of services.

The countries also do not agree with the proposal to limit cabotage, i.e. possibility to provide transport services in other countries by setting the requirement to make a pause of several days between the cabotage operations. According to the ministers, this is an attempt to limit competition between the foreign and national carriers. Such proposals hide the attempt to protect interests of national carriers pushing the single European transport market into the background.

The proposal to prohibit weekly rest if the drivers in cabin also causes worries because the European road network’s infrastructure is not well developed and is not adjusted to proper rest of drivers: there is lack of safe parking lots, hotels, showers, etc. According to the calculations of the European Commission, the number of parking lots by the European roads suitable for rest is sufficient only for 7 thousand trucks, although some 400 thousand trucks are driving every day on the roads. Because of such lack of parking lots, it is evident that this requirement is equal to prohibition to work in other countries.

The present conditions of the Mobility Package are distant from the initial goals – to take care about social welfare of the drivers. If the new Mobility Package is approved, only 20 percent of all the EU drivers could be sent on work trips. Unbalanced conditions would have painful impact on more than 3 million employees working in the transport sector in entire Europe.

The ministers of five countries addressed the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Antonio Tajani for the second time already. The Lithuanian, Polish, Bulgarian and Hungarian ministers have expressed their concern about harmful provisions of the Mobility Package more than once to Mrs. Violeta Bulc, the European Commissioner for Transport, Mrs. Karima Delli, chair of the Committee on Transport of the European Parliament, and members of this committee responsible for the Mobility Package.