A split European Parliament voted on the social aspects in first mobility package  

Date: 05, June 2018
At the long-awaited vote in the European Parliament's Transport Committee on the social aspects of the mobility package on Monday June 4, the members were divided as expected. The vote concerned the revision of the rules on driving and rest times, rules for access to the market and access to the profession and specific rules for posting of workers in the road transport sector.

Most attention was given to the vote on the application of the rules for posting to drivers, where the Transport Committee with a small majority decided that the rules on posting should not cover international transport. This, despite the fact that the Commission has said that the rules for posting apply to international transport, the question is solely how to apply. It should also be noted that the Employment Committee of the Parliament already voted with a convincing majority a few weeks ago for all drivers in international transport, cabotage and combined transport to be covered by the posting rules.
"Today's results are not unexpected, but nevertheless not welcomed. We now stand with a split Parliament with two extreme views likely to be decided in Plenary. We also stand with a split Council, which also has difficulty agreeing on this part of the proposals. The risk is that there will be no common EU rules in the near or medium future. The result of this can be a patchwork of national schemes, administrative burdens and legal uncertainty as well as unfair competition for haulers ", comments CEO of NLA, Søren H Larsen on behalf of the operators of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. "This situation can never be in the interests of the industry and unfortunately I think many MEPs have misunderstood their role during the vote. Their job is to fight for a better EU, not an all-against-all EU ", continues Søren Larsen.
The overall result of the vote is a mix of ideas, but with many interesting details that will need to be studied further. Some of the interesting ideas that were adopted are: enhanced and more effective controls; better cooperation between Member States; faster introduction of smart tachographs and e-documents, all of which that can be used for better controls.  Moreover, rules for access to the profession are introduced also for vehicles between 2.4 t and 3.5 t in international transport; 3rd party responsibility; tighter rules for combined transport and for cabotage; cooling-off for cabotage and requirements for return to home country before new cabotage driving;  the effects of autonomous vehicles for driving and resting times; ban on weekly and reduced weekly rest in the cabin unless it is done on a certified resting place; the right for a driver to have a weekly rest at home within 3 weeks; indication of crossing of borders in the tachograph ... and much more was adopted.
"Especially interesting is to look at what the overall effect of all these proposals is, for many of them are a real tightening of current rules. And with the demands of returning home by driver and, in some cases, also the vehicle, the overall result may well be that many of the unfair competition systems that we currently see utilized in the EU will be hampered. NLA and its Scandinavian members will certainly not accept an outcome where unfair competition can continue and where you can operate permanently outside your home country without following host country rules, wages, social conditions", continues Søren Larsen.
What's happening now is a bit unclear. Although TRAN decided to open negotiations when and if the Council has a position, it must also be expected that the Employment Committee in the European Parliament will not accept to be overridden. There are procedures for this that will involve a vote in Plenary in the European Parliament.