The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Borja Gracia, IMF mission chief for the Republic of Lithuania, visited Lithuanian National Road Carriers’ Association LINAVA on 17 June 2019. One of the major focus of the IMF’s delegation was the ongoing negiotiations on the Mobility Package I and its implications to the perspectives as much for Lithuanian road transport operators as for transport and logistics in general.
The representatives of the association LINAVA expressed their concerns about the current outcomes of the negotiations on the Mobility Package I in the Council of the EU (hereinafter – Council) and the European Parliament (hereinafter – EP). It was underlined that positions of both EU institutions not only oppose fundamental EU principles of free movement of goods and services but, importantly, discriminates against peripheral EU Member States (hereinafter – EU MS).
The IMF mission was informed that the Mobility Package I including the requirement of regular return of vehicles to the state of estabishment and other new restrictions on access to the EU road transport market will distort a level playing field among EU hauliers, an increase in costs of operations and higher prices for transport services and goods. Due to the Mobility Package I proposals, operators established in EU MSs with the high industrial capacity or closer to the major EU goods’ flows would find themselves in a significantly better business environment compared to hauliers from Lithuania and other peripheral EU MSs.
The association LINAVA also brought the attention to some estimations on Mobility Package’s I effects on peripheral EU Member States. The study of Gdansk University (2017) assessed an impact of the package (namely the proposals initially proposed by the European Commission) vis-à-vis Poland and other peripheral EU Member States. The study came to the conclusions that the package would reduce the number of transport operations by 7%, a number of trucks – by 50% in SMEs and by 10% in larger operators. Generally, the operating cost would increase by 5% resulting in a situation where around 30% of transport companies will limit their activities or even go bust. Jobs will be lost in SMEs and in larger companies respectively by 30% and 20%.
The association LINAVA voiced its determination to continue efforts in urging decision makers to carry out a thorough socio-economic impact assessment of the Mobility Package I as well as legal evaluation of compatibility with the EU law, in particular with principles of non-discrimination and proportionality. The damaging impacts of the Mobility Package I to Lithuanian and other peripheral EU hauliers could only be avoided by means of relying on an evidence-based approach and assessing plausible consequences on drivers, industries, consumers and EU Member States. This is the only way forward for well-balanced economically, socially and legally substantiated decisions.