Newsroom / CNA
Implications of a new rule included in the EU mobility package currently under negotiation, whereby commercial vehicles, lorries, and trucks will be required to return to their licensing Member State every eight weeks, were raised on Wednesday by Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos and several of his counterparts to the Commission Vice President and Commissioner for Transport.
Karousos joined forces with his Bulgarian, Estonian, Latvian, Polish, Lithuanian, Maltese and Romanian counterparts, who collectively raised the issue of the new rule to European Commissioner Frans Timmermans and the Commissioner for Transport, Anna Ioana Valean.
In statements, Karousos said that the new rule, which demands the “return of vehicles every eight weeks to their base, is unacceptable to us, for two main reasons.”
The first reason, according to the Minister, is that Cyprus is an island and therefore excluded from the common market, which is a fundamental principle of the European Union.
"We had put forward our argument and explained by example that a truck which is currently licensed in Cyprus and needs to make a shipment to Brussels, would have to travel 3,000 kilometers to reach Athens, the port of Piraeus and then travel three more days by boat, if there is a ferry connection, to do another 625 nautical miles to reach Cyprus and then return again, driver and vehicle, to the EU to continue operating,” Karousos explained.
He added that "this essentially excludes us from the single market and we have also raised our concern that this may work as a Trojan horse for other issues such as services".
Karousos pointed out that the second issue he raised with his counterparts is that this practice is not in line with the environmental objectives set by the EU and the Green New Deal.
"Both the Commissioner and the Vice-President have announced that they are conducting an impact study in view of our concerns.”
Karousos added that in the event that the Commission does not review this rule, the objecting Transport Ministers will consider taking legal measures through the European Court.
"In this context, we welcome the European Commission`s commitment to conduct an impact assessment regarding some elements of the provisional agreement on Mobility Package I (the Agreement). In its statement of December 20, 2019, the Commission rightfully noted that ‘the compulsory return of the vehicle to the Member State where they were licensed every 8 weeks and the restrictions imposed on combined transport operations are not in line with the ambitions of the European Green Deal’. This statement is in line with the positions presented by our countries during the legislative process."
Karousos noted that the obligation for the vehicle to return to the country of establishment, introduced in the Agreement at the request of the European Parliament, contradicts the EU’s climate policy objectives and the Paris Agreement goals and will result in additional empty runs and CO2 emissions from the road transport sector.
"National studies show that the return of the vehicles will result in additional empty runs and, by extension, in extra CO2 emissions from the road transport sector per year. These analyses are, nevertheless, fragmented, and refer mostly to the national level, not measuring fully the impact across the entire EU. Therefore, the follow-up on the Commission’s initiative which will measure the impact of the new proposal at the European level is truly necessary."