Provisional agreement reached on social and market aspects of EU Mobility Package for road transport
The Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the European Commission have reached a provisional agreement on the proposals included in the EU Mobility Package I concerning market access for freight and passenger transport, driving and rest times, and rules on posting of transport workers. The aim of the Mobility Package is to harmonise the regulation of commercial freight and passenger transport in the EU and to improve the conditions for supervision.
The most challenging topics in the discussions on the Mobility Package were the compulsory return of the vehicle used in freight transport to the country of its registration and the issues related to the distribution of weekly rest periods of drivers.
According to the agreement reached in the discussions, vehicles in international transport should return to their country of registration at least once every eight weeks.
As a rule, the compulsory weekly rest periods would be distributed according to the current model, but two shorter weekly rest periods would also be permitted in international operations. In addition, the Package would introduce one hour of flexibility into the maximum daily driving time when returning home in order for the drivers to take their weekly rest. Alternatively, the driver may extend the driving time by two hours to take a normal weekly rest if preceded by a break of 30 minutes.
The cabotage regulation would still allow three transport operations over seven days. This would be followed by a four-day cooling-off period during which cabotage operations may not be carried out. With regard to combined transport operations, Member States would be given the possibility to apply the general cabotage rules. Cabotage means transport operations within the borders of one state using a vehicle registered in another country. Another important element of the Package is the special provisions on the posting of drivers, according to which, for example, the posting should always be notified to the destination country where the cabotage is carried out.
The regulation of vans used in international transport would be amended so that heavy vans (with unladen mass of 2,500–3,500 kg) be subject to Community licence requirements (current limit 3,500 kg). In addition, tachographs would have to be installed in these vehicles by 1 July 2026.
In terms of the authorities, the Mobility Package I specifies the obligations related to cooperation and sharing of information. In addition, it includes specifications to the licence requirements of transport companies. The aim is to prevent the creation and operation of so-called letterbox companies.
The adoption of the provisions still requires the final approval of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament.
The Mobility Package I is scheduled to enter into force in 2020. The application of the provisions on driving and rest periods would begin immediately, while the rest of the Package is to be applied from mid-2021.
Sini Wirén, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2532, Twitter: @WirenSini
Veli-Matti Syrjänen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 34 2124