„The ban on resting in a cabin is clearly aimed against the Eastern road carriers” – the Romanian National Association of Road Carriers (UNTRR) commented on the recent judgement of the European Court of Justice. The Romanian industry organisation has released a statement on that case.
Let as recall that on 20 December the Court judges concluded on the case of the Belgian carrier who filed a lawsuit in 2014 in connection with the fine that was received by one of its drivers. The worker spent the 45-hour weekly break in the cabin, for which they were punished with s fine of 1800 EUR. The European Court of Justice had to rule whether the interpretation of the EU Regulation (EC) no. 561/2006 is correct. The Court considered that the driver cannot spend their regular weekly rest in the cabin of the truck. Thus the judges confirmed that it is contrary to the regulation (EC) no. 561/2006 and the EU countries are entitled to punish for that.
Escalation of protectionism in the Western Europe
The Romanian National Association of Road Carriers (UNTRR) recently published a statement expressing its concern about the decision of the European Court of Justice.
„What worries us most is that currently the regulation no. 561/2006 is being adjusted at European level and the road transport industry is facing the escalation of protectionist measures based on various interpretations of this regulation in the Western Europe, depending on the country” – the UNTRR stated.
The association points out that the judgement of the European Court of Justice was given 11 years after the publication of the regulation, which has not been changed so far. It also states that since 2014 in France and Belgium, and since last year also in Germany, the authorities have begun to interpret the EU rules in a protectionist manner.
The Romanian association along with many other road transport organisations in the UE were protesting against the interpretation adopted by the Western European countries, which prohibits spending a weekly rest in the cabin of the truck.
This approach is very restrictive and discriminating. It does not apply to the drivers from France, Belgium or Germany, that, for obvious reasons, do not spend their weekly rest in the truck, but at home” – the statement says.
The Romanians believe that this rule is clearly aimed against the Eastern carriers and the drivers operating on the international routes. Moreover, the countries of the Western Europe require foreign drivers to sleep in hotels, although it is clear that there is a severe shortage of safe parking spaces across the entire EU, which could also provide the accommodation for foreign drivers.
The outrageous judgement of the European Court of Justice
In the face of these unprecedented challenges for the basic values of the EU single market, including free movement of services and goods, the UNTRR considers the verdict of ECJ for scandalous, because it basically legalises the protectionist actions in the EU that lead to the discrimination of carriers.
The UNTRR also called for action the Romanian ministries of transport and the Members of Parliament. The Romanian carriers expect the authorities and deputies to explain that „standard weekly 45-hour break may be spent by the drivers in the cabin, in accordance with 11 years of practice in the road transport”.
The assessment of the Polish transport industry is coinciding.
– I evaluate this judgement from the point of view of rationality and fairness. And I just have serious doubts whether it is fair. If you impose legal obligations first you have to ensure the possibility to apply to them. If this is not the case, then there is no justice in it – Maciej Wroński said, the head of Transport i Logistyka Polska [Polish Transport and Logistics], the association of employers.
The head of TLP stressed that such actions attack directly the free movement of goods in the European Union.
– This is why in my opinion this judgement is detached from reality. We cannot accept the situation that courts give abstract judgements – Marcin Wroński said.