SP supports painting firms in fight against EU bureaucracy

16 November 2006

SP supports painting firms in fight against EU bureaucracy

From 2008 vans used by painting firms to ferry personnel and materials to the worksite will be required, as is already the case for buses and lorries, to be fitted with a tachograph, an instrument for monitoring driving times. Some small firms are currently exempt from such an obligation, and exemption will continue to apply to certain sectors, such as garden maintenance. Painting firms will, however, come under the new regulation, and this European Union-imposed obligation will cost small companies dear, creating both additional expense and additional paperwork. Commenting on the new law, SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer, spokesman on transport affairs for the United Left Group in the European Parliament, sympathised with the arguments of the employers’ organisation for the sector when he said that while “protection of drivers against being forced to drive too many hours and consequent fatigue is excellent, unnecessary burdens imposed by carelessly drafted EU legislation are certainly not.”

Erik MeijerPainting firms fear that work vehicles equipped with trailers will come just above the limit of 3500 kgs, and that as a consequence of this they will have to be fitted with a tachograph at a cost of € 2000 per vehicle, while personnel will need training in new administrative tasks relating to journey and driving times. The result will be that the firms will need one set of vans for work close to their base and another for longer distances. “I share their annoyance about unequal treatment of different sectors, and senseless bureaucracy,” said Erik Meijer. “Europe should be solving problems, not creating them.”

In a series of questions to the European Commission Mr Meijer is asking that the EU member states be given the opportunity to extend the exemption granted to garden maintenance firms to comparable companies in the painting sector, offering equal treatment. At the same time he is asking Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot to answer complaints from Dutch sector employers organisation FOSAG, to which he has failed to respond.

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