New European driving licence to last ten years

Transport ministers have agreed that all
citizens should have the same ten-year driving licence
across the EU. Despite the Dutch Presidency’s efforts to reach
a compromise on the Eurovignette directive, no agreement was

Transport ministers have agreed to harmonise driving
licences across Europe during their council meeting on 7
October. This means that in the long run the
EU will do away with the approximately 110 different
driving licences currently being issued in Europe and
eventually replace them all with one single

The single European driving licence will take the
form of a credit card model that will be valid for
the same period throughout the whole of Europe, ten
years for cars and motorcycles and five years
for trucks and buses. Agreement on this proposal was not
easy with s
everal Member
States highlighting the fact that changing driving
licences would be a costly exercise. Moreover, the new
European driving licence may face criticisms from EU
citizens who are

used to having their driving licence for a lifetime
without undergoing regular examinations. 

As regards the controversial Eurovignette proposal,
which defines criteria for the charging of
road use by lorries, ministers failed once again to reach
an agreement despite a lengthy discussion. The main
points of contention are
the allocation of motorway
toll receipts, increases in tolls to permit
cross-funding, the method for calculating charges and
toll variation rates

. In the latest version of the draft directive, the Dutch
Presidency had proposed that road tolls should be used to
benefit the entire transport system, ie they money from
tolls should be reinvested in roads, but also in rail and
other transportation means. 

In the field of maritime transport, ministers agreed
on the River Information Services directive.
The introduction of RIS is expected to make inland
shipping in Europe faster, more efficient, and safer.
They adopted a common position on the directive on
ship-source pollution and on the introduction of
sanctions for infringements. 

In relation to external aviation policy, transport
Ministers have looked at how the Commission can best
proceed to relanch the negotiations on an EU-US Open
Aviation Agreement
once the United States
administration is in place after the

presidential elections.

The Council gave a mandate to the Commission
to open negotiations with Ukraine to include the EU’s new
neighbour in the development of Galileo, the EU’s
navigation satellite system.

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