Member states take action before EU court against first Mobility Package

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

A view of the emblem of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) at the main entrance of its headquarters in Luxembourg, 19 December 2019. [EPA-EFE/JULIEN WARNAND]

Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Romania have lodged individual complaints to the Court of Justice of the EU (ECJ) against the Mobility Package I. In the near future, Latvia and Estonia also intend to join the complaint of one of the above mentioned like-minded member states.

The following statement, made available exclusively to EURACTIV, is signed by transport ministers of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

There must be no consent to solutions that are not only protectionist but also incompatible with European Union law and restrict the freedom to provide services in the EU Single Market.

Efficient road transport is a crucial sector for economic recovery of the European Union and deserves a just, efficient, business-friendly and socially inclusive regulatory framework. A common transport policy is an integral part of the Single Market, since the establishment of the EU and was enshrined as such in the Founding Treaties of the EU.

Contrary to this, the recently adopted Mobility Package I will harm EU road transport undertakings, which are mostly small and medium enterprises. It is undeniable that the Mobility Package I was prepared in a completely different pre-COVID-19 socio-economic reality.

The provisions of the Mobility Package I will hinder the efficient functioning of EU supply chains, at a time when the timely delivery of strategic goods such as medicines is indispensable.

The adopted measures in the Mobility Package I have gone far beyond the original objectives of reforming EU law on international road haulage and violate EU Treaty provisions. They lead to the distortion of the EU Single Market by introducing artificial administrative barriers to the functioning of road transport companies.

These will result in higher prices for transport services and consequently for goods in the European Union, which will in turn reduce the EU’s global competitiveness and may increase costs for consumers.

The new legislative acts do not provide a level playing field for EU hauliers and introduce protectionist measures that hinder competition among EU member states. This approach runs counter to the idea of furthering the EU Single Market.

Moreover, the geographical specificities of member states located at the external borders of the EU as well as island member states were not taken into account.

The Mobility Package I deviates from goals of the Commission`s initial proposal. Furthermore, significant provisions were not subject to an Impact Assessment in terms of their effect on the road transport industry, its workers and the EU economy.

In this context, it should be noted that the Commission also admitted that some measures were not analysed properly and expressed its doubts as regards their compliance with the EU climate policy.

In particular, the obligatory return of vehicles to the member state of establishment of the haulier is an example of a provision that is not only discriminatory among the different member states but also incoherent as it undermines ambitious EU goals in the field of environmental policy and is contrary to the European Green Deal.

This provision is expected to increase up to additional 3 million tons of CO2 emissions in the whole EU per year.

Signatories

  • Andrzej Adamczyk, Minister of Infrastructure of the Republic of Poland
  • Rossen Jeliazkov, Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications of the Republic of Bulgaria
  • Yiannis Karousos, Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Cyprus
  • Taavi Aas, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Estonia
  • László Mosóczi, Minister of State for Transport, Hungary   
  • Tālis Linkaits, Minister for Transport and Communications of the Republic of Latvia
  • Jaroslav Narkevič, Minister of Transport and Communications, Lithuania
  • Ian Borg, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, Malta
  • Lucian Nicolae Bode, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communications, Romania

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