SP proposals to tackle illegal practices in road transport included on agenda of EU Transport Ministers

8 May 2014

SP proposals to tackle illegal practices in road transport included on agenda of EU Transport Ministers

Today the EU Council of Transport Ministers meets in Greece for its periodic ‘informal’ meeting. Amongst other issues they will discuss proposals recently handed to European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas by Dennis de Jong and like-minded MEPs.

‘This had been going on a long time before we managed to get Kallas to take any action, but he did promise that he would ensure that all of the transport ministers would have available our list of suggestions for improving enforcement of the cabotage regulations governing domestic road transport,’ says De Jong. ‘Infrastructure Minister Melanie Schultz Van Haegen now has the chance to really help our Dutch truck drivers. Ministers from other member states who share our concerns recently sent a stiff letter to the Commissioner. Schultz Van Haegen didn’t in the end sign this letter, because she found it to be too negative about the liberalisation of domestic road transport. That was a slap in the face for the drivers, but today offers a fresh chance. If the ministers can push Kallas into getting down to work on this, he’ll have no hiding place, as he will have been instructed by both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. Then we can at last take the necessary measures against abusive practices.’

Read the list of our proposals below:

Cabotage rules

The cabotage rules must be tightened up and clarified. The existing rules permit three journeys within a member states in one week, after which the freight vehicle involved must leave the country in question before any more domestic pickups can be made. We want to see an obligation first to return to the country of registration, and a new limit of ten domestic freight loads in a period of three months. The member states must make clear agreements on the minimum number of checks on road transport and the deployment of enough inspections to make effective checks possible. Controls must not discriminate against drivers from particular member states. The European Commission must as soon as possible draw up an overview of the many inspectorates which carry out checks on road transport. In addition, member states must send compliance reports to the Commission, in which are reported clearly the number of personnel and extent of financial resources available to the inspectorates and what they have achieved. The various inspectorates must not only improve cooperation on a national level, but cooperate too at European level. Cross-border inspections are often more effective than purely national controls.

Tackling postbox companies

Postbox companies set up in order to dodge workers’ rights and member states’ laws must be dealt with. Every transport company must have a physical parking space in the country in which it is registered for each of its freight vehicles. The management of a haulage firm should be responsible for a single company, rather than as now a maximum of four. Transgressions of the rules should be met with immediate withdrawal of the permit.

Tackling bogus self-employment

Drivers who are in reality waged employees but who are forced to register as self-employed must be protected from their employers, who should be held responsible for transgressions of laws governing driving times and rest periods.

Payment per kilometre instead of per hour should in all cases be forbidden.

Educational and training courses must be paid for by the employer. Organisations issuing education certificates must be required to fulfil clearer criteria.


Liability criteria must be adjusted so that shippers are also held responsible for any failure to comply with the rules on the part of their carriers’ or subcontractors. Carriers must be recorded in the national register of companies, which should be linked to the European Registers of Road Transport Undertakings (ERRU). This register must list any transgressions by firms. Inspectorates should have real-time access to this register. .

Parking areas

The safety and quality of parking areas and sanitary facilities on motorways must be improved.

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