The Czech minister of Transport, Mr Dan Tok was very clear in his statement at this mornings breakfast meeting on the social aspects of the road package: We want to be mediators between the different positions on EU road transport policy!
At a breakfast meeting organised at the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic, to which NLA was invited, the minister of transport expressed his understanding for the initiatives taken as concerns minimum wage etc, but he did not accept that it was reasonable to use these measures to hinder the free circulation. In particular the administrative burden is excessive.
The minister also expressed his agreement of need to address letterbox companies and regulate cabotage somehow, as long as bureaucratic, administrative burdens are avoided.
The issue of road transport and posting of workers was also a key topic discussed. the Czech MEP Martina Dlabajova, from the ALDE-group (Liberals) expressed her position to see road transport excluded from the posting of workers directive in the on-going discussion on the revision of the posting of workers directive. Eddy Liegoise, head of unit from DG MOVE and responsible for the up-coming road package, was also present at the meeting and expressed the disagreement of the Commission with this view. Road transport is covered by the posting of workers directive and we cannot take away this protection of the drivers, was his argument. However, he agreed that we need to find more suitable ways to apply the rules for cases where the drivers are delivering a service in the host country. This formulation means, that when a driver does transit transport, he should not be covered by the posting of workers rules.
The nomadic drivers as well as letterbox companies were mentioned several times. Both the Czech minister as well as the Czech chamber of commerce - who had organised the meeting - agreed that it was not acceptable, that drivers could fall outside the rules and protection just by moving around in the internal market. Likewise letterbox companies should not happen in an Internal Market.
"It was comforting to meet representatives from the new EU-countries expressing a clear interest in an open and constructive dialogue. It was clear that the Czech minister genuinely wants to find a solution which is a compromise, rather than just start a shouting match which will lead nowhere," comments Soren Larsen, NLA. "In fact you were wondering if the Czech minister could not have signed the Paris Declaration of January 31, 2017 from the Road Alliance of 9 countries from the EU-15 group.