2020.06.12 14:20

Lithuania to turn to EU court over Mobility Package

BNS2020.06.12 14:20

The Lithuanian government plans to turn to the EU Court of Justice over the tightening of the union’s road transport rules that it says will hurt the country’s transport sector and increase pollution.

The so-called Mobility Package, which will require trucks to return to their country of registration every eight weeks, will be voted on by the European Parliament in its July session.

Read more: Lithuania calls on EU to reconsider Mobility Package

During the meeting with the Polish prime minister at the Kalvarija border crossing on Friday, Lithuanian PM Saulius Skvernelis confirmed that his government decided to turn to the EU court regarding the reform.

“I think this isn’t fair, especially from the Covid-19 perspective,” Skvernelis said. “We are talking about the need to transform the economy into a healthier, greener, more efficient one. Where does the driving of trucks across Europe every eight weeks fit into this?”

According to Linava, the Lithuanian road carrier’s association, the initiative will also cause huge losses to the country’s transport sector. Small-sized businesses will be hardest-hit and almost 35,000 people in the sector could lose their jobs, according to the group.

Most of the EU countries have already approved the Mobility Package, a set of rules to regulate the EU’s transport industry.

According to BNS sources, the regulations are opposed by nine countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Cyprus, and Malta. However, that is not enough to block the initiative.

The authors of the rules say the mandatory return of trucks will help combat the practice of registering fictitious transport companies in lower-tax countries.

Western European countries also argue that stricter rules would prevent unfair competition from cheap Eastern European labour and improve working conditions for their drivers.

Once the package is passed, member states will have a year and a half to transpose it into national law.

The European Commission is yet to carry out an environmental impact assessment.

Read more: Drivers stage counter-protest against haulage firms to demand living wages