The EU has established a range of social measures applying to the road transport sector, which aim at improving drivers’ working conditions, road safety and competition between road operators. To give real substance to these social measures, compliance is key. The 2006 Enforcement Directive was therefore adopted to effectively implement the social provisions of the ‘Driving time’ Regulation. The current proposal, published in the context of the 2017 European Commission ‘Europe on the move’ initiative, seeks to remedy some shortcomings of the Enforcement Directive, such as non-uniform implementation. Additionally, it puts forward specific rules on the posting of workers applying to the road sector, with a view to responding to concerns raised regarding the inadequacy of the Posting of Workers Directive provisions and administrative requirements, when applied to the road transport sector.
This progress report on the social aspects of the first Mobility Package has been published in preparation for the Transport Council taking place on 4-5 December 2017.
Update: A revised agenda has been published.
The agenda items include a presentation by the Commission and discussion on the position to be taken on behalf of the European Union in the Ministerial Council set up under the Treaty establishing the Transport Community and the preparation of the first Ministerial Council, as well as a detailed Presidency debriefing on the outcome of the trilogue on the initial qualification and periodic training of drivers of certain road vehicles for the carriage of goods or passengers.
The Council will assess the progress of the proposals relating to market access and social aspects, part of the ‘first mobility package’ including new rules on the posting of workers in the transport sector. Moreover, ministers will hold a policy debate on the road charging proposals of the same package, including the ‘Eurovignette’ directive. The Council will look at the progress made on the proposed regulation on safeguarding competition in air transport. The Council is also due to adopt three sets of conclusions on the progress in trans-European transport networks (TEN-T) and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), on digitalisation of transport and on the mid-term evaluation of the Galileo, EGNOS and the European GNSS agency. Other topics on the agenda include the presentation by the Commission of the second batch of its mobility proposals, adopted in November. These proposals relate to clean road transport vehicles, combined transport of goods, and access to the international market for coach and bus services. The incoming Bulgarian presidency will also present its work programme.
Agenda items include energy & environment, digital, trade, transport and general policy items.
This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission’s Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposals, submitted on 31 May 2017 and referred to Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism. The aim of the proposals is to improve the application of social legislation in road transport, also including sector-specific rules for posting of workers, to facilitate fair competition between operators and enhance drivers’ social conditions. The proposals form part of the ‘Europe on the move’ package, which is a broader review of the road transport legislation of the European Union. The transport package is one of the priorities of the European Commission. The proposals, which are part of the Commission’s Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) programme, aim to contribute to the Commission’s social agenda and the European Pillar of Social Rights. In its resolutions, the European Parliament has called for improved implementation of social legislation in the road transport sector, enhanced road safety, adapted posting provisions for transport workers, and called for measures to counter unfair competition and social dumping.
Update: A revised agenda has been published.
The agenda items include examinations of revised draft information papers and presentation and first examinations of Commission Staff Working Documents in Preparation of IMO/PPR 5 (London, 5-9 February 2018) and an examination of the draft high-level agreements adapted indicative maps of neighbouring countries, to be signed on behalf of the European Union with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
– Political agreement
Agenda items include discussions on the Opinion on Statistics on rail transport (recast) and the Opinion on Vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road. From 2.30 p.m. onwards a thematic debate will take place: “After COP 23 and the impact on the TEN Section policy areas”.
Posting of workers plays an important role in the internal market, particularly in the cross-border provision of services. While the number of posted workers continues to increase significantly, problems such as unfair practices and unequal remunerations persist. In addition, the correct balance between the freedom to provide cross-border services and the social rights of workers needs to be adapted to today`s situation. The targeted revision of the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) proposed by the Commission would bring changes in three main areas: the remuneration of posted workers (making it equal to that of local workers, even when subcontracting), more coherent rules on temporary agency workers, as well as long-term posting. While the majority of stakeholders welcome the proposal, the Member States are divided: a considerable number wish first to fully implement the 2014 Enforcement Directive before proceeding to a further revision. Moreover, sufficient numbers of national parliaments have delivered reasoned opinions on the proposal to require the Commission to reconsider.
GUE/NGL MEPs are broadly supportive of the initiative for reform of road transport as many of the measures included in the Commission proposals are longstanding demands of the Left.
On 20 October 2017, CIPTEC held a workshop on social entrepreneurship in Thessaloniki, entitled “Social Innovation/Entrepreneurship and Public Transport in Cities: Identifying barriers and opportunities”.
On 27 November 2017, EESC President Georges Dassis and Commissioner Violeta Bulc will officially launch the EU Platform for Change aimed at increasing female employment and equal opportunities in the transport sector. The launch conference will comprise a session where participants will be able to have a better understanding of the functioning of the Platform, while reflecting on key topics such as the setting-up of targets for female employment, the opportunities brought about by innovation, effective initiatives to fight gender-based violence in the workplace and the feasibility of more flexible shifts to increase work-life balance.
The agenda items include a Group of Experts debriefing by the Commission on the European agreement concerning the work of crews of vehicles engaged in international road transport (AETR), a Presentation by the Commission on common rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services and an analysis of EP amendments on the initial qualification and periodic training of drivers of certain road vehicles for the carriage of goods or passengers and Directive 2006/126/EC on driving licences.
The European Council will welcome the launch of Permanent Structured Cooperation, review progress in other fields, notably on EU-NATO cooperation and adopt conclusions on social as well as on education and culture following up to the Gothenburg Social Summit.
The TRAN Committee will reopen a debate on the functioning of the EU internal market in road transport and its social aspects. At the hearing, experts will present their views on the legislative proposals of the mobility package and follow up with a discussion with Members. The first part of the hearing on internal market and social aspects will take place on Wednesday 22 November 2017 from 10.00-12.00 and the second part on road charges on Thursday 23 November 2017 from 9.30-11.30, both in the József Antall building. The hearing will be web-streamed.
The agenda items include the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (Eurovignette and vehicle taxation), a Continuation of preparation of the policy debate on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union (recast), on access to the international road haulage market, on minimum requirements on maximum daily and weekly driving times, minimum breaks and daily and weekly rest periods and Regulation (EU) 165/2014 as regards positioning by means of tachographs, posting drivers in the road transport sector and a Continuation of examination of the draft progress report on the use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road.
Question for written answer to the Commission (Rule 130) by Rolandas Paksas (EFDD) on “Application of posting rules to international road transport”.
Hosted by ALDE Member Martina Dlabajová, EMPL rapporteur for the Posting of Drivers proposal. In the light of the ongoing review of the posting of workers directive and the forthcoming discussions of the Commission proposal on Mobility package, this event will discuss the posting of drivers and its implications on free movement of services and the protection of workers. The event will give an opportunity to debate in depth the ways in which the Posting of Workers Directive will be applicable to drivers and discuss whether the proposal of the Commission is proportionate and effective in achieving its goals.
Update – amendments to the report are available.
As part of its efforts to reduce transport emissions, the EU wants to make better use of inland navigation. This requires addressing the limited labour mobility and shortage of qualified workers in the sector. The proposed directive seeks to establish one competence-based system of qualifications for workers on all EU inland waterways. Ultimately, the new rules aim to make jobs in inland navigation more attractive. Parliament is due to vote on the proposal in plenary in November.