European Commission backtracks: no rush to liberalise domestic road transport

6 March 2013

European Commission backtracks: no rush to liberalise domestic road transport

The European Commission will for the time being not be rushing to liberalise domestic road transport, a group of MEPS including the SP’s Dennis de Jong learned at a meeting with Commissioner Siim Kallas today. 'I’m pleased with the outcome of our talks,’ says De Jong. ‘True, Commissioner Kallas didn’t wholly rule out liberalisation, but he isn’t happy about the numerous abuses in road transport and agrees that we must first ensure better enforcement of working conditions and safety rules. In this we will be assisting him.’

De Jong and his fellow MEPs agree that they are pleased with the change of course which has come after various protest actions by truck drivers from all over Europe. During these actions drivers shared experiences of the many problems they had encountered, such as having to spend the night in places not designed for this, like storage sheds. In Belgium last year a conflagration flared in a storage shed and two Polish drivers were burned to death. ‘Next month I’m going to open a complaints hotline to better list abuses in the sector,’ says De Jong. ‘Before the summer we will hand the Commissioner a ‘black book’ of these complaints with suggestions for solutions. Kallas promised us that this will lead to further initiatives, and that he would personally fight hard for improved monitoring as well as better cooperation between the member states in order to take action against these abuses.’

In compiling this ‘black book’ De Jong will continue to work with the group of like-minded Euro-MPs from the centre-right European People’s Party, the centre-left Socialists and Democrats, and the Greens. In addition the drivers and their unions will have every opportunity to share their experiences with the European Parliament, including via the hotline. After the summer recess the European Commission will be bringing forward new proposals on domestic road freight transport. MEPs will be keeping up the pressure on the Commission to ensure that the existing regulations will at last be properly enforced.

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