To protect interests of the Lithuanian carriers, Minister R. Masiulis meets the members of the European Commission and the European Parliament in Brussels

Date

2019 01 09

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As the discussions on the Mobility Package in the Transport Committee of the European Parliament are approaching, today the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. Rokas Masiulis discussed the provisions of the documents of the major relevance to the carriers, with Ms. Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport.

The Bulgarian, Polish and Hungarian transport ministers who support the Lithuanian position also took part in the meeting and expressed their concern about probably discriminatory character of the provisions with regard to the EU carriers.

“According to the current version of the Mobility Package, the national interests of several EU Member States are raised above the interests of common European market. These documents were prepared too hastily. They will cause damage not only to our domestic companies, but also to the old EU Member States, who want to adopt this agreement rashly. Instead of balanced provisions that can contribute to well-functioning Single Market, Europe risks imposing restrictive, disproportionate and protectionist measures that go against basic Treaty principles and fundamental EU freedoms. The hasty and reckless decisions about the Mobility Package in the EU transport market may violate the principles of free movement of goods and fair competition and cause economic consequences,” – stated the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. R. Masiulis in the meeting.

The worrying provisions of the Mobility Package are also discussed with the members of the European Parliaments. Today Minister R. Masiulis met the Lithuanian members of the European Parliament. After meeting the Commissioner V. Bulc, the meetings of transport ministers of four EU Member States – Lithuania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary – are scheduled with the EP TRAN committee chair, Mrs. Karima Delli and with the committee’s members, who are participating the most actively in the considerations of the Mobility Package.

According to Minister R. Masiulis, the main idea of these meetings is to stop protectionism in Europe and not to impose barriers for free movement of goods. The initial goals of the Mobility Package have been lost – it is not solving social issues of drivers, would have clear negative impact on the environment goals and would harm the European economy in general.

Similar to other aforementioned EU Member States, Lithuania wants to underline to the European Commission and the European Parliament that the split model, which foresees application of posting regime for drivers performing cross-trade and bilateral operations, will lead to fragmentation of the EU market, because different conditions will be set for the countries, whose drivers work on the ground of bilateral agreements. Besides, the conditions for unfair competition between the carriers from the EU and third countries will be created. One of the main concerns is raised by the foreseen requirement to return the truck to its country of registration. It is especially unfavourable for the periphery countries of EU. This would restrict the carriers’ flexibility in organization of carriage of goods. Moreover, the compulsory return of empty trucks would have a big negative environmental impact. The countries also object to imposing of further restrictions on cabotage, i.e. a possibility to provide transport services in another country.

As the Transport Committee of the European Parliament is going to vote on the Mobility Package, the Lithuanian carriers of road transport are going to express their protest against protectionist provisions of these legal rules tomorrow, on the 10th of January, in Brussels. Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. R. Masiulis is coming around 10 o’clock to express his support to the protesting carriers and representatives of the Lithuanian National Road Carriers’ Association “Linava”.

“The new Mobility Package may have strong impact on the market of road carriage and cause especially painful consequences to such countries as Lithuania that has a strong business of road carriage and small domestic market. The unfair restrictions may enforce the carriers of Eastern Europe to move their business to the West or to third countries, and this would result in big losses to the country,” – told Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. R. Masiulis.

“The Lithuanian Government and the national carriers should act unitedly in defence of the Lithuanian interests in the negotiations about the Mobility Package. I am not saying “business interests”, because the current situation in Brussels shows clearly that business and politicians act as one on both opponent sides. We appreciate the position of the Ministry of Transport and Communications and its active actions in the Council of the European Union.

As the negotiations have taken unfavourable direction in the European Parliament, we are really concerned that the projected offers that are especially unfavourable to Lithuania that is located in the outskirts of the European Union would have big negative impact on the sector that creates about 9 percent of GDP. However, we believe that in the end the decision makers will take concern and issues raised by all the European Union’s Member States, including the peripheral ones, into account and will prioritize contractual and strategic obligations to deepen the EU transport market’s integration and to take care about competitiveness in the entire EU, – says Mr. Tomas Garuolis, secretary of the Association “Linava” for transport policy.