Estonian International Road Carriers: EU transport reform is protectionist

Trucks. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Toivo Kuldkepp, secretary general of the Association of Estonian International Road Carriers (ERAA), said on Monday an approved reform on highway transport by the EU will legalize protectionism and was passed in the interests of Central Europe.

One of the main objectives of the European Union's road transport reform is to ensure better working and social conditions for drivers. 

However, one of the main amendments forces trucks in international transport to return to the company's operational center every eight weeks, with nine European Union states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania) standing in opposition of this amendment in particular, stating that returns to a company's operational center every eight weeks hinder the competitiveness of local haulers.

Toivo Kuldkepp said on Vikerraadio's morning show "Vikerhommik" that adjustments have to be made but he does not consider this reform necessary: "It has a protectionist feel to it."

Although the representative of ERAA believes there are some positive things in the reform, he thinks there are many overregulations of minor details, for example, an obligation to clear parking lots of ice and snow.

Referring to the obligation to return to an operational center every eight weeks, Kuldkepp said it has not yet been regulated if the truck has to return to the operational home country or to the truck driver's home itself.

Kuldkepp thinks this reform was passed in order to serve member states in Central Europe: "It is a nuisance to our local entrepreneurs. I emphasize that this is actually legalizing protectionism to get rid of our companies."

Kuldkepp added that although nine EU states oppose this reform, he does not see any legal arguments to alleviate the affects of it.

He concluded by saying he thinks Estonian road carriers will manage under new circumstances and will find adequate solutions in time.

According to the ERAA, there are 8,000 truck drivers employed in international transport.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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