Transport is a key pillar of the Single Market, allowing for the free movement of goods, services, workers and citizens across borders. The efficiency of the European transport networks has a direct impact on the turnover of trade flows, prices and ultimately competitiveness of the EU. A Well-functioning of road transport is a prerequisite in ensuring growth and jobs. However, the EU’s transport policy of continuous deepening of Single Market is challenged by the Mobility Package I.
The debates on Mobility Package I mainly focuses on 3 issues:
- Should posting requirements be applied to international road transport?
- Should a driver be obliged to return home with or without a vehicle on a regular basis?
- Should a weekly rest in a cabin be banned?
The upcoming decisions on each of these issues are to define whether the access to the EU Member State’s markets will be significantly limited. If European Parliament and Council of the EU approve any of the proposed limitations, they will go in an opposite direction with regards to founding EU treaties as well as strategic commitments.
The principle of free movement of transport services is set out in the EU treaties as well as in long-term transport strategies. The initial general commitments aiming at free market of transport services were enshrined in the EU’s founding Treaty of Rome 60 years ago. Furthermore, the long term European transport strategy (White Paper, 2011) aims at building a single European transport area by 2020, creating favourable conditions for all modes of transport as well as lifting restrictions on cabotage in the EU Member States.
The goal of establishing a full freedom of movement and provision of transport services must be maintained and strengthened in the EU road transport legislation. Unfortunately, while a wide range of legislative proposals of the Mobility Package I strongly focuses on social issues of the road transport, the commitments set out in EU’s strategic documents on strengthening of both the free movement of services and transport market are not taken into account.