S&Ds welcome Commission’s Mobility Package as ‘surprisingly balanced’ but call for ambitious implementation

S&Ds say no to any further liberalisation of the transport market as EU Commission presents Mobility Package, letter-box companies, Ismail Ertug MEP, European Road Toll System, Eurovignette, Jutta Steinruck, workers directive,

Reacting to today’s presentation of the Mobility Package at the European Commission’s midday press conference, the Socialists and Democrats welcomed the proposals as surprisingly balanced but call for ambitious implementation.  In the run-up to the presentation of the package, the S&D Group in the European Parliament had led the drive to put the social pillar at the heart of the EU’s policies for the transport sector. The Commission seems to have taken on board some of their proposals to crack down on letter-box companies, stop the exploitation of drivers and end tax evasion. The S&D Group expressed their hopes that the expectations raised at today’s press conference will be fulfilled by the concrete legislative proposals and that further improvements can still be made. 

Ismail Ertug MEP, S&D spokesperson on transport, said:

“Letter-box companies, exploitation of drivers and a lack of controls - the list of problems in the transport sector is long. The Commission’s proposal to tackle letter-box companies by introducing criteria such as substantial economic activity is heading in the right direction. Currently, companies who play by the rules and are not able to compete with price dumping, and society as a whole, who miss out on taxes and social contributions, are paying the price for the failure to crack down on letter-box companies. They deserve a forceful answer to end this unfair practice and more controls."

“The lack of controls is a huge problem in the transport sector. The Commission's proposals are a first step to address the issue. We Socialists and Democrats call for the establishment of a European Road Transport Agency to ensure harmonised application and enforcement of the rules. As member states do not seem to be able to deliver, we want a European body to ensure fair competition, open market access and that black sheep are kept out.”

On the third part of the Mobility Package, the proposal for a European Road Toll System, Ismail Ertug added:

“Concerning a future European Road Toll System three issues are key for the Socialists and Democrats: we want to see that the proposed Eurovignette includes not only light duty vehicles but also transporters and passenger cars, external costs taken into account and the calculation based on the 'user pays' and 'polluter pays' principles. The current patchwork of national arrangements must be replaced by a functioning European system. All users should contribute their fair share to the financing of infrastructure.”

Jutta Steinruck, MEP and S&D spokesperson on employment, said:

“The proposals presented by the Commission today were surprisingly balanced. If for *cabotage the wages of the host country will indeed apply as of day one as announced by the Commission today, this could be a step in the right direction - but only if the more favourable wages apply for the drivers. The proposed exemption of road transport from the posting of workers directive for three days is not acceptable. This would mean less social protection as workers would not be covered by the minimum social protection standards laid down in the directive. We say no to exemptions and loopholes in the social and employment laws in the transport sector!”

*Cabotage means the national carriage of goods for hire or reward carried out by non-resident hauliers on a temporary basis in a host member state.