Both representatives of the TFL industry and economists agree that the new directive on posting can lead to the collapse of thousands of small companies from the transport industry. MEPs who are forcing changes in the directive remain deaf to these warnings, despite the fact that they are aware of numerous reports and analyzes. What’s more, some Western MEPs do not realize that the changes will also affect companies in their countries. What is it all about? Who is it for? You will find the answer to these and some other questions in an interview with the MEP Danuta Jazłowiecka, who for years has specialized in the subject of the directive on the posting of workers.
How do you assess the chances of excluding transport from the new directive on posting?
Danuta Jazłowiecka: In my opinion, it’s fifty-fifty. A lot will depend on whether the MEPs from the Transport Committee (this is the lead committee that deals with the Mobility Package and, inter alia, delegating employees in transport) will have the power to convince the remaining 700 MEPs to vote for this mandate. It will be difficult because we have been dealing with this topic for months. Transport is really such an incredibly complicated sector when it comes to export services.
We have so far organized dozens of conferences, thousands of meetings, negotiations, and yet at the last session, deputies did not understand that transport should not be covered by posting.
How do MEPs who lobby for the inclusion of transport in the new directive on delegation react to substantive arguments, reports that show that it can be a nail to a coffin for thousands of small and medium-sized transport companies from all over Europe?
Among 700 MEPs, we have … various opinions. There are those who are really very involved in building the actual picture of what the situation on the market looks like and what are the regulations that will be possible to implement. But there is also a group of deputies who make decisions based on public opinion. In particular, negative opinions prevail against companies and drivers from Eastern Europe. Decisions regarding transport should be well informed and not based on the opinion of the public.
And how do the representatives of the TSL industry in the West of Europe approach the proposed changes?
In most cases, transport companies from Western Europe are not aware that they will also be covered by delegation, because the message is: „we are preparing a directive so that transport of Central and Eastern Europe will not flood our markets”. So everyone thinks: „Oh, these regulations will only apply to transport in this part of Europe.” And when it suddenly turns out that they will be in force in all EU they seem surprised: „Us too? It is impossible!”
In most cases, they are not yet aware that all these provisions will also apply to them and that they too will have to fulfill this entire bureaucracy and submit to the solutions that the Member States will adopt.
I think that today’s or tomorrow’s success, if achieved by the countries of Western Europe, is short-sighted. In the beginning, it will seem that everything is great – „we won, we will not have companies from Central and Eastern Europe enter our market”. Then it will turn out that there is no one in this market, and the drivers of Western Europe will not want to provide those services they provide now.
Why do some Western politicians care so much about including transport in the directive on posting? What are their motivations, taking into consideration the fact that economists find such solutions harmful to the European economy?
I always try to understand the other side, see the two sides of the coin, enter the shoes of colleagues who are behind these restrictions. I am sorry to say, but sometimes I hear such answers: „Danuta, you’re right. It is rational what you say. But I have an election in a year and I have to win this election.”
I think that there is also a degree of guilt in societies that simply do not try to listen to rationality, do not try to look at a given situation but listen to populist slogans and opinions. These societies also enforce such policies on their politicians, which in turn can make a mistake by submitting to populist solutions. However, when dealing with other cases they may be very good MEPs and be very much needed for a given country.
I also think that there is also a task for us, for the societies to be more responsible, more reliable in our assessments. We need to look for the real images. Now, unfortunately, because of social media, these images are terribly blurred and we do not have time to reach for these real images to decide whether this person should represent us in one way or another.