Stricter rules were originally supposed to apply to truck drivers sent to a different country
The members of the EP in Strasbourg swept the compromise agreement on rules for sending drivers abroad, drivers sleeping in truck cabins and access of shipping businesses to the European market from the table. The package was approved by the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) last week. Following long disputes and negotiations, the EP decided that no general rules will apply to drivers in the international road transportation business regarding transit.
“The protectionism in some countries has now fully surfaced. They are boycotting what we have already agreed on”, the Czech MEP Martina Dlabajová (ALDE), who leads the negotiations on the social aspects of the mobility package on behalf of the fraction of the Liberals and democrats in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), commented on today’s vote.
Stricter rules were originally supposed to apply to truck drivers sent to a different country. Countries like France, Belgium and Germany – those who decided to protect themselves against cheaper competitors from Central and Eastern Europe – required a change. She regards the compromise achieved in the special regulation for the road traffic sector from last week, which also reflects the interests of the Czech Republic, as successful. “A balanced compromise was achieve last week that can be applied in practice and that will finally provide social protection and decent conditions for truck drivers, maintain competition on the single market and even boost the market. Now, however, we are back with restricting and undermining the freedom on the single market,” she added.
The MEPs stopped the TRAN vote today and thus prevented the social aspects of the package going directly into the three-party negotiations between the EP, the Commission and the Council. The text must now go through the vote of the entire range again and face change proposals that may significantly affect the optimistic prospects of a balanced regulation.
Long disputes will still accompany the road package, evidence of which are the negotiations on the level of the EU Council which met by the end of last week. The Czech transport minister Dan Ťok came to defend the rights of Czech shipping businesses to the meeting of ministers. “It’s time to close the long-year disputes on social dumping and protectionist policies. The Czech Republic will continue acting as a reasonable partner and seek dialogue with the western states to find a compromise acceptable for everyone,” said the transport minister in Luxembourg. The member states did not find any agreement and the Council position was postponed.
The western states are obviously not interested in dialogue and have been obstructing any and all efforts of countries from Central and Eastern Europe who have already made many concessions. “We see no will among your west-European colleagues to solve the chaotic situation on the market. They are hiding their efforts to expel our shipping businesses from their markets behind their alleged care of the good of drivers. But they fail to realise that they are actually achieving the opposite and threaten the free market. I am very sorry to see that the discussion on the road package turned into pure political fight. We must realise that not only drivers and shipping businesses are at stake, but this is about the principle, the future of Europe and preservation of Europe’s interests,” Dlabajová closed her criticism.
Source: Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic
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