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Wednesday, 1 April 2009 - Brussels OJ edition

19. Evaluation of the driving hours and rest periods (debate)
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  Corien Wortmann-Kool, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group . – (NL) Mr President, there was some confusion today about this Commission statement, but it is clear that the oral questions tabled by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats formed the basis for today’s statement. The oral questions stemmed from the great concern that exists, despite the Commission’s efforts, about the practical implementation of this Regulation.

If I drive for one more minute in a country because I need to move my car, I could be faced with sky-high fines in a different country weeks later. This is one example of the problems encountered by drivers and transport companies. It can cause enormous problems, for example, if you drive just a couple of kilometres further to reach a safe car park (as all car parks are overflowing in Europe) or to reach a good car park for the night.

I am pleased that you have launched a number of actions and also that you are going to present your report. I would request that, in this report, you look not only at the introduction of the provisions but also at the Regulation itself, and that you proceed to a wide-ranging evaluation that gives the sector the opportunity to raise with you the concerns I have just discussed. A wide-ranging evaluation is what is required, therefore, so that we can look at where improvements can be made.

Indeed, the disadvantage of these guidelines as I understand it is that, thus far, they have no legal force in the Member States. If drivers rely on these guidelines they could be left empty-handed, as these are not legally valid – and that is a problem. Commissioner Barrot, given your knowledge of the matter, I am pleased that you are replacing Commissioner Tajani today, and I sincerely hope that you are able to promise us this wide-ranging evaluation.

 
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