toll box for whole EU
European ministers want a single toll box for the whole EU
European transport ministers want there to be only one toll collection standard in Europe. They also want to make it easier to use rental vehicles. The ministers are not yet in agreement about several issues. These include driving and resting times, cabotage, and secondment.
Cora van Nieuwenhuizen and her colleagues held talks in Luxembourg last week. She is the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment. During the Transport Council, some sections of the so-called Mobility Package were discussed. This is a group of European regulations about the transport sector.
One toll box
The ministers want transport companies in the European Union to eventually be standardised. They must have the same contract, toll supplier, and toll boxes. The aim is to make the current European toll systems “interoperable” – they must be able to communicate with each other. Transport and Logistics Netherlands (TLN) is 100% in agreement with the ministers about this point. This is the Dutch business organisation for road transport companies and logistics service providers. Almost all 28 member countries currently pay tolls. Transport companies will undoubtedly benefit from one system with one toll box in the truck.
Use of rental vehicles
The ministers discussed one of the Mobility Package’s proposals. This suggests that it should be easier to rent trucks. It should also be possible to transport goods in all the European member states. The ministers agree with the members of the European Commission. They think the current stringent regulations hamper efficient transport. The ministers are in favour of widening the scope of these rules. TLN agrees, in most part, with the ministers and the Commission on one point. The current laws are too strict. At the moment, companies are not even allowed to use vehicles from their own subsidiaries, if said vehicles are registered in a different member country.
Disagreement about social issues
The Mobility Package’s social aspects were also discussed. These include driving and resting times and cabotage. Road transport driver secondment was also discussed. The ministers did not all agree on these social aspects. The vast difference in the ministers’ opinions means these issues were tabled entirely. Western and Eastern Europe member countries have altogether opposite views about secondment and the complete release of the transport market. The Eastern Europeans want the transport market to be completely independent. The Western European countries, including the Netherlands, do not. This is because there is such a significant discrepancy between wages and contributions. Completely releasing the market would, therefore, lead to unfair competition. Dutch companies, for instance, have far higher labour costs than those in Eastern Europe. This makes it impossible to compete with them.
On 29 May, TLN and the FNV and CNV trade unions presented a petition to the House of Representatives. Herein, they called on members of this House to fight for a fair and transparent transport sector. They want them to oppose the complete release of the European transport market. Members were also asked to support retaining part of the current legislation. The House of Representatives held a meeting on 30 May. Here, Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen indicated that she would champion Dutch interests in the negotiations with her European counterparts.
Publication date: 6/12/2018