Experts and representatives of the mobility sector, transport associations and the private sector gathered to present their views and proposals for the Mobility Package during a two-day hearing which took place in Brussels on 22 and 23 November.
The first day was dedicated to a debate on market and social aspects. Among the variety of manners discussed, the majority of participants agreed on the need to focus on the following aspects:
- The application of sanctions and controls in the fight against fraudulent companies and emissions fraud to foster more transparency, achievable also with the application of new technologies and the establishment of a unique European agency that serves as contact point for inspectors, to combat firms that are not operating properly.
- Economic competition among Member States: the Mobility Package must be well discussed in order to avoid negative consequences on transport, which could impact a country’s GDP. Make sure Europe has tools that can ensure competition, making sure that each firm can compete in the market on the same basis.
- Drivers’ rights: it is important not to have any discrepancy on salary among Member States, especially since drivers frequently cross different EU countries to deliver goods. Assuring good working conditions, regulating driving and resting times (especially at night) and guaranteeing the necessary infrastructure are a priority. Furthermore, the hearing debated on the need to regulate contracts for drivers that have to go in another country (not mentioned in the mobility package, but essential to move forward).
The second day focused on road charges. Many participants agreed on the important role of road charging as an incentive to curb CO2 emissions and as strong instrument to fight climate change, as well as on the need for more standardization. The main debated topics dealt with the Commission’s proposal on the use of vignettes. It was visible that member states want to keep the choice between the vignette and tools and that Parliament will have to push this principle in the negotiations to come.
A second topic debated was the possibility for coaches to be exempted from paying tools. As stated by the Commission’s representative in the hearing, the mobility package opens the market for coaches to give opportunities for these sectors.
Lastly, the acceptance of the allocation of revenues and charges by users, a delicate topic on which the Commission hopes to see strong support from the Parliament.