The European Union aims to ensure that road transport rules are applied effectively and without discrimination. The current rules governing the access to the international market for coach and bus services appear to have been only partly effective in promoting this mode of transport. There are still differences in rules on access to national markets, differences in openness of national markets, diverse national access arrangements and discrimination in access to terminals in some EU countries. In an attempt to address the issue, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal on 8 November 2017 to amend the EU rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services. The proposal is part of its ‘Europe on the Move’ package, which aims to modernise European mobility and transport.
The issue of fair competition between EU and third-country airlines and the importance of guaranteeing a level playing field has been recognised for some years by the various EU institutions as key for the future of European aviation. The 2015 Commission communication on the aviation strategy underlined the importance and legitimacy of EU action to deal with possible unfair commercial practices in international aviation, and announced the revision of existing rules in this field. On 8 June 2017, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal for a regulation on safeguarding competition in air transport. The objective of the proposal is to provide effective legislation in order ‘to maintain conditions conducive to a high level of Union connectivity and to ensure fair competition with third countries’ air carriers’. Parliament and Council reached agreement on the text in November 2018. The text was formally adopted by Parliament on 14 March 2019 and by Council on 9 April. After its final signature, the new legislative act will be published in the Official Journal.
The regulations on admission to the occupation of road transport operator and on access to the international road transport market have been contributing to the functioning of EU road transport and fair competition between resident and non-resident hauliers since December 2011. Despite the improvements they have brought to the sector, however, persistent shortcomings such as diverging national application of the rules and uneven enforcement called for a revision of both acts. On 31 May 2017, as part of a ‘mobility package’, the European Commission adopted a new proposal to address the main shortcomings affecting the sector, and improve its competitiveness and efficiency. In June 2018, Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) adopted its report and a negotiating mandate for trilogue. However, Parliament did not endorse the mandate and in July 2018, rejected the report, referring it back to the committee. On 10 January 2019, the TRAN committee adopted a compromise proposal but failed to reach an agreement on the two linked files on driving times and posting. The coordinators finally decided to recommend to the Conference of Presidents to place this proposal and the two other linked social mobility proposals on the plenary agenda for a new vote.