ETF launches a set of proposals to improve EU law enforcement in road transport


On 29 September 2015, the ETF has launched its concept to improve EU law enforcement in road transport at an event bringing together EU Member States, European Commission services and partner organisations. The ETF proposal is based on existing practices and tools that only require minimum measures and adjustments, thus allowing implementation without delay.

The present situation in the EU haulage market is a paradox: while benefitting from a fair legal framework, laws are not being adequately enforced. Some partisans of deregulation go as far as to say that these laws are not enforceable. In contrast, some Member States adopt control measures to address distortions in their transport and labour markets in an attempt to prevent social dumping and unfair competition. In recent months, all players, including the competent national authorities, have asked for effective EU-wide measures to tackle these distortions.

The ETF proposal aims to offer an EU-wide set of actions to policy makers, demonstrating that the current EU laws are enforceable in the road transport sector. The ETF believes there is only one extra mile to go, in order to achieve a complete enforcement scenario in the road transport sector.

Cooperation between three levels of enforcement at the core of the ETF proposal
During controls, enforcers currently focus only on ‘tangible’ evidence, such as tachograph data, the state of the vehicle, overloading, while illegal cabotage, letterbox companies and social dumping practices tend to be generally overlooked. Enforcement instruments are not adapted to tackle the real problems facing the sector and enforcement capacity has declined by 75% over the past five years. Distortions among operators, among Member States and abuses on drivers thus continue unabated.

The ETF proposal is based on the idea that an operator’s compliance must be tested against a larger range of EU rules, to include ‘access to occupation’ criteria, social legislation and cabotage. Three levels of enforcement – roadside, back-office service and company checks – will cooperate closely to develop complete compliance records for each operator. Information collected from roadside and company checks will be ‘tested’ against data declared by operators in the NERs and the ERRU. Thus, data conflict will be automatically detected and registered in the national registers and in the ERRU, which will signal the need for in-depth and targeted checks to clarify an operator’s compliance.

The ETF concept requires no amendments to existing community rules Roberto Parrillo, President of the ETF Road Transport Section said: “The ETF proposal shows that solutions are not only possible but that they are available now! All that is needed is the political will to restore fair competition and law-binding social practice in the EU haulage sector.”

In his final remarks, Gerard Schipper, ECR General Delegate stated: “A safe, fair and sustainable transport industry is the responsibility of all stakeholders and can only be achieved through cooperation. We look forward to walking that last mile together with ETF.”