Joint DECLARATION of
ANTRAM (Portugal), ASTIC (Spain), AEBTRI (Bulgaria),
CESMAD BOHEMIA (Czech Republic), CESMAD Slovakia (Slovakia),
ERAA (Estonia), LATVIJAS AUTO (Latvia), LINAVA (Lithuania),
MKFE (Hungary), UNTRR (Romania) and ZMPD (Poland)
The European associations of international road transport carriers are forced to come back to you with the issue of protectionist measures introduced recently by some EU Member States. These measures, in our common position, aim to protect the local markets from operators from other EU Member States by introducing extra haulage costs. To be clear, this is in sharp contrast with the principle of the single market as well as free movement of goods and services set out in the EU Treaties.
We have already informed that both minimum wage laws in Germany and France respectively introduced in January 2015 and in July 2016 brought tremendous negative consequences to the road transport sector. We observe great administrative, organizational and financial burden. Our hauliers have been facing the dramatic costs increase resulting in the loss of competitiveness. Although both countries claimed that as long as infringement procedures are ongoing controls would be suspended, we have been receiving the information that more and more of our transport companies are controlled. What is more, Italy declared their support for Germany and France and announced the implementation of the minimum wage in the sector of road transport (including transit).
However, the issue of the minimum wage is not the only protectionist measure in the EU. Belgium and France introduced high penalties for taking the regular rest in the cabin of vehicles in 2014. As far as we are informed, the same measure is just about to be implemented in Germany. This will cause great perturbations in performing international transport operations and create unnecessary stress among our drivers.
We are grateful to the European Commission for its decision to initiate infringement procedures against France and Germany. However, time goes by and there is no opinion, no decision of the European Commission regarding these highly important issues. The EU pilot procedure against France with regard to the high penalty for sleeping in the cabin takes more than two years now.
The German case takes one year and a half. Our business cannot be effective under these circumstances and prolonged atmosphere of uncertainty and threat. Therefore, we are in dire need of your leadership and clear decisions.
We cannot agree with passivity of EU’s authorities. We cannot tolerate lack of decisions or accept an idea to solve all these problems by planned legislative initiatives (so called “road package” and “mobility package”). We all know very well these initiatives will take years to be agreed and implemented. This approach cannot be accepted. We have no time to wait. Our sector cannot afford it. Please note, that our road transport companies are the key for further development of our countries’ road transport sector, growth of small and medium business as well as our national economies in general.
The European associations of international road transport carriers call on the Commission to accelerate its decision making process.. We expect the Commission to act as the watchdog of the “acquis communautaire”, to take seriously the ongoing debates amongst Member States and professional associations. We expect the Commission to turn to the Court of European Union without further delay.