Lithuanian MEP Petras Auštrevičius in cooperation with the Lithuanian National Road Carriers Association LINAVA held an event in the European Parliament called “Mobility Package: for a Europe of bridges or walls?” on 6 November.

Representatives of the European Parliament, Brussels-based organisations as well as Danish, German, Lithuanian, Czech and Slovak national associations of industry, logistics, shipping and haulage gathered to discuss key proposals of the Mobility Package 1 and their potential impact across various of economic sectors. The discussion in particular focused on the risks associated with the proposal to split international transport operations, an obligation of return home of a truck, discrimination and proportionality of rules, spill-overs and negative implications to the Single Market and economies.

MEP P. Auštrevičius opened the event by stressing the importance of the EU Single Market and road transport as its integral part. According to P. Auštrevičius, the Mobility Package’s proposals will not only define the future of the EU’s road transport but also affect logistics, industries and many other sectors.

The BusinessEurope representative Jonathan Gray said: “The application of the Posting of Workers Directive to international transport operations will create an excessively complex administrative system, difficult for transport operators to adhere to, especially for SMEs. It will result in higher transport and logistic costs, disrupt and undermine the efficiency of EU value chains, and harm the competitiveness of EU industry at large”.

The Danish hauliers association ITD representative Emma Hadrovic added: “ The unbalanced and unenforceable rules can have a domino effect to other sectors. We cannot pick rules from one sector and apply to other, it is a cherry picking of sectors”. E. Hadrovic concluded that there is a need for a step by step approach instead of rushing in adopting decisions on key proposals.

The presentation of association LINAVA representative Tomas Garuolis focused on the most recent proposals on a split of international transport and return home of a vehicle by putting: “Drivers form the same EU Member State performing cross-trade and bilateral transport would not be on an equal footing in terms of social entitlements and remunerations. Moreover, it would end up in double standards, distortion of the Single Market and a level playing field within the EU.”

Speaking about obligatory return home of a vehicle the case of peripheral EU Member states was pointed out: “The return home of a vehicle is about more empty runs, more fuel consumption, more CO2 emissions, less efficiency and no social benefits. What is even worst, it would make the cost of compliance among EU hauliers imbalanced. Peripheral hauliers would have to allocate more time and financial resources compared to countries closer to the Europe’s centre. Their legitimate rights to provided services in the EU would be discriminated due to the geographic location” said T. Garuolis.

European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services CLECAT representative Nicolette van der Jagt elaborated on the environmental issue: “The shippers have an ambition to become efficient, fast and green. Increasing efficiencies and greening logistics is a great goal but the Mobility Package proposals do not support them” said N. van der Jagt.

Bulgarian MEP Andrey Novakov made it clear that if transport companies were forced to return empty truck home for 2000 km they would bankrupt in half a year. Additionally, the application of posting would result in 10% more personnel for administrative work and the proposed cooling-off period for cabotage is unjustified proposal at all.