The European Commission has decided to refer Denmark to the Court of Justice for failing to lift its 25-hour maximum time limit on lorry parking.
Since July 2018, Denmark has been limiting the period for which lorries can park in state-owned rest areas to a maximum of 25 hours.
However, the European Commission has concluded that the measure restricts the freedom to provide services as guaranteed by EU road transport legislation. As a result, the matter will be referred to the European Court of Justice.
The Danish measure restricts the freedom to provide services as guaranteed by EU road transport legislation (Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009), as it creates barriers to foreign hauliers carrying out international operations. Since these hauliers do not have an operating centre in Denmark, they need parking space to carry out their activities and to comply with EU obligations on driving and rest times under Regulation (EU) 561/2006. The restriction on lorry parking makes compliance with those obligation more difficult. The Commission considers that the rule is not appropriate, necessary or proportionate to the objectives and therefore started an infringement procedure against Denmark, requesting it to lift its 25-hour limit.
The authorities in Denmark claim the 25-hour parking limit is needed to ensure orderly conditions at rest areas and prevent unlawful and hazardous parking. The Commission admits that these goals are in the general interest, but states that other methods could be used to achieve them.
Even if the explanation provided by the Danish authorities for the restriction were considered to be in the general interest (notably the objectives of ‘ensuring orderly conditions at rest areas’ or ‘addressing unlawful and hazardous parking’), the restriction would need to be appropriate and necessary in relation to the objectives. This is not the case here, as such objectives could be reached by other means, without causing similar adverse effects.
The news will be welcomed by foreign hauliers operating in Denmark. However, the reaction within Denmark has evidently been different; website altinget.dk claimed that the EU had effectively “rubber stamped Nomadic Operations”.
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