Procedure : 2008/2062(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0357/2008

Texts tabled :

A6-0357/2008

Debates :

PV 08/10/2008 - 27

Votes :

PV 09/10/2008 - 7.13
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0475

REPORT     
PDF 169kWORD 104k
18 September 2008
PE 405.774v02-00 A6-0357/2008

on the implementation of social legislation relating to road transport

(2008/2062(INI))

Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

Rapporteur: Alejandro Cercas

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Transport and Tourism
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the implementation of social legislation relating to road transport

(2008/2062(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the consequences of the exclusion of self-employed drivers from the scope of Directive 2002/15/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 on the organisation of the working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities (COM(2007)0266),

- having regard to the 23rd report of the Commission on the implementation in 2003-2004 of Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport (COM(2007)0622),

- having regard to Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 of 20 December 1985 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport(1),

- having regard to Directive 2002/15/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 on the organisation of the working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities(2),

- having regard to Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport and amending Council Regulations (EEC) No 3821/85 and (EC) No 2135/98 and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85(3),

- having regard to Directive 2006/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on minimum conditions for the implementation of Council Regulations (EEC) No 3820/85 and (EEC) No 3821/85 concerning social legislation relating to road transport activities and repealing Council Directive 88/599/EEC(4),

- having regard to the judgment of 24 September 2004 in Joined Cases C-184/02 and C-223/02 Kingdom of Spain and Republic of Finland v European Parliament and Council of the European Union(5), in which the Court of Justice of the European Communities ruled that self-employed drivers could not be excluded permanently from the scope of Directive 2002/15/EC,

- having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament entitled Keep Europe moving – sustainable mobility for our continent – mid-term review of the European Commission’s 2001 transport White Paper(6),

- having regard to the letters of 21 June 2007 and 29 June 2007 from the Chairman of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs to Commissioner Vladimir Spidla and Vice-President Jacques Barrot and the reply from Vice-President Barrot of 3 October 2007,

- having regard to the report of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions entitled Impact of the working time directive on collective bargaining in the road transport sector(7),

- having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A6-0357/2008),

A.  whereas some Member States failed to supply within the time limits the information on inspection and enforcement activities in 2003-2004 required under Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85, with the result that the Commission’s report on the implementation of that Regulation during the period in question (COM(2007)0622)) was submitted one and a half years late,

B.   whereas the average number of contraventions detected has remained stable, although the total number of contraventions reported in some Member States rose considerably, with breaches of the rules on breaks and rest periods tending to increase while breaches of the rules on driving times fell,

C.  whereas the next biennial report will have to include, for the first time, information on the implementation of Directive 2002/15/EC,

D.  whereas it is in the general interest that the rules on working time, driving times and rest periods for both mobile workers and self-employed drivers should be properly applied,

E.   whereas the aim of Directive 2002/15/EC is to establish minimum requirements in relation to the organisation of working time in order to improve the health and safety protection of persons performing mobile road transport activities, to improve road safety and to align conditions of competition,

F.   whereas Directive 2002/15/EC came into force on 23 March 2002 and gave Member States three years, until 23 March 2005, to implement its provisions, and yet most Member States failed to transpose the Directive during that three-year transitional period,

G.  whereas, two years after the end of the transitional period for the transposition of Directive 2002/15/EC, some Member States still have not transposed all of its provisions,

H. whereas self-employed drivers are excluded from the scope of Directive 2002/15/EC until at least 23 March 2009,

I.    whereas the Commission report on the consequences of excluding self-employed drivers from the scope of Directive 2002/15/EC sets out the advantages and disadvantages of both including and excluding self-employed drivers, but without reaching any final conclusions,

J. whereas Parliament has on various occasions pointed to the importance of addressing the industry malpractice of classifying many employees falsely as self-employed drivers,

K.  whereas it is important to eliminate disparities between the Member States and to help to ensure fair competition in the road transport sector by including self-employed drivers,

L.   whereas it is important for the scope of Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 to remain consistent with regard to the length of driving time and rest periods, with no distinction between drivers,

M.  whereas restricting working time in the road transport sector will have much greater benefits in terms of road safety if self-employed drivers are included,

N.  whereas the inclusion of self-employed drivers will not detract from their capacity or the need to perform administrative or managerial duties for their company, since, for the purposes of Directive 2002/15/EC, working time is confined to activities related directly to road transport,

O.  whereas the social actors represented on the European Economic and Social Committee are broadly in agreement on including self-employed workers, so as to ensure equal treatment for all workers in the sector, prevent distortions of competition and promote better working conditions,

P.   whereas the Court of Justice of the European Communities has clearly established that Article 71 of the EC Treaty offers a sufficient legal basis for applying Directive 2002/15/EC to self-employed workers, precisely because it contributes to the objectives of road safety and the approximation of conditions of competition,

Q.  whereas the abovementioned Commission Communication and Commission report on the consequences of excluding self-employed drivers from the scope of Directive 2002/15/EC reflect the continuing concern at the delays in transposing and applying Directive 2002/15/EC in some Member States, as well as other social legislation in the road transport sector,

R.   whereas, even though some Member States have still not transposed Directive 2002/15/EC, the two-yearly implementation reports should be submitted in accordance with the timetable laid down in the Directive,

1.   Regrets that considerable differences still remain in the application and enforcement of Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85; notes that Member States must step up their efforts to guarantee efficient and uniform implementation of the improved social provisions;

2. Expresses concern at the shortcomings and delays in the transposition and implementation of Directive 2002/15/EC in some Member States; seeks rapid clarification and comment from such Member States as to the reasons for non-implementation, together with an indication of what obstacles may still remain;

3. Points out that Directive 2002/15/EC establishes minimum requirements and its transposition must not lead to a lower level of protection for workers or less compliance with more favourable conditions in certain Member States resulting from general employment legislation or collective agreements,

4.   Calls on the Member States to speed up the process of transposition and show the utmost diligence in implementing social legislation in the road transport sector, so as to properly comply with the general interests of road safety and the health and safety of drivers and provide a clear framework of fair competition;

5.   Calls on the Commission to draw up the implementation reports required under Directive 2002/15/EC at the two-yearly intervals laid down, even though some Member States have not yet transposed the Directive's provisions into national law;

6.   Expresses concern at the consistently high average number of infringements, particularly in the field of passenger transport, and looks to the Member States to improve their enforcement of the rules; calls on the Member States to step up joint initiatives to encourage an exchange of information and personnel, together with coordinated controls;

7.   Calls on the Commission to display the utmost firmness in dealing with infringements of Community law by Member States as regards social provisions in the road transport sector, to provide for coercive measures in the event of failure to comply with provisions and to take preventive measures, if necessary via judicial process, to ensure strict compliance with Community law;

8.   Calls on the Commission, under the comitology procedure set out in Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, to propose by October 2008 guidelines for the uniform definition and classification of infringements;

1.  9. Calls on the Commission to give appropriate priority to the social dimension of road safety and the health and safety of drivers and other road users in connection with all other considerations, when drawing up its official impact assessment in view of a legislative proposal modifying the Directive 2002/15/EC as requested in its Article 2(1);

10. Calls on the Commission, when drawing up the abovementioned official impact assessment, to take account of the difficult working conditions experienced by lorry drivers travelling through Europe arising from inadequate access to proper rest areas despite the fact that Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 expressly recognises the importance of a sufficient number of safe and secure rest areas for professional drivers along the Union's motorway network; calls, therefore, on the Commission to follow up the pilot project on safe and secure parking areas launched by the European Parliament, taking account of the measures recommended in the European Economic and Social Committee's opinion on 'European Road Safety Policy and Professional Drivers – Safe and secured parking places' (8);

11.Calls on the Commission, when drawing up the abovementioned official impact assessment, to give full consideration to the position expressed by Parliament and to its arguments for the full inclusion of self-employed drivers within the scope of Directive 2002/15/EC;

12.Calls on the Commission, when drawing up the abovementioned official impact assessment, to take into account the general view within the transport sector that self-employed drivers should be included and considers that it would be extremely difficult from a legal point of view to identify and pursue 'bogus' self-employed workers, not to mention the practical and bureaucratic difficulties that would have to be overcome to prevent this concept from being widely exploited to evade the restrictions on working days;

13. Calls on the Commission to submit the relevant measures sufficiently well in advance to ensure that Directive 2002/15/EC as a whole, including all its elements, can enter fully into force on 23 March 2009 and that its scope is extended to include self-employed workers;

14. Calls on the Commission to ensure that impact assessments are completed with urgency, so that an objective analysis can be concluded without further delay of what changes, if any, should be considered;

15. Calls on the Commission to review traffic inspection procedures in each Member State and send Parliament a report thereon; calls on the Commission, in the event that inspection procedures restricting the free movement of goods or persons are detected, to review existing legislation and propose amendments, so as to ensure uniform traffic inspection procedures;

16. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to submit the information, and the implementation reports based on that information, more rapidly, so that any necessary legal corrections arising from the analysis of the implementation may be addressed without further ado;

17. Considers that the figures on contraventions confirm once again its view that there is an urgent need for legal adjustments; is confident, therefore, in the light of Directive 2006/22/EC, which entered into force in May 2006, and Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, which entered into force in April 2007, that the rules will be more strictly and uniformly enforced in future;

18. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

(1)

OJ L 370, 31.12.1985, p. 1.

(2)

OJ L 80, 23.3.2002, p.35.

(3)

OJ L 102, 11.4.2006, p. 1.

(4)

OJ L 102, 11.4.2006, p. 35.

(5)

ECR [2004] I-7789.

(6)

      OJ C 161, 13.7.2007, p. 89.

(7)

      http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/docs/eiro/tn0704039s/tn0704039s.pdf

(8)

         OJ C 175, 27.7.2007, p. 88.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Road transport is one of the economic activities that plays a crucial role in Europe. It is a dynamic and expanding sector which is very important in terms of jobs, directly employing more than three million persons in the Union as a whole. Unfortunately, transposal of and compliance with social legislation in this sector at national level, and specifically the rules governing working time, driving hours and rest periods, leave much to be desired, with the threat this poses to road safety and the health and safety of drivers, as pointed out by Parliament.

Furthermore, the fierce competition within the sector and with other transport sectors means that clear rules and effective controls and sanctions are needed to ensure that failure to comply with common rules does not serve to undermine the principle of fair competition, which is vital to the orderly and rational functioning of the sector within the European economic area. Respect for fair competition and full compliance with the rules on driving, working time and rest periods are two sides of the same coin and are basic requirements for ensuring at one and the same time the road safety of European citizens and the health and safety of passenger and freight transport drivers.

In order to meet these important and difficult challenges, a substantial body of law has been established, although it is not always as clear and consistent as it should be and above all has not always been diligently transposed into national law and implemented in the transport sector by all Member States.

There are two blocks of legislation, which do not always run in parallel. The first is usually the domain of Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism and concerns driving hours and rest periods, an area in which new legislation has been adopted(1). The second concerns the organisation of the working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities (Directive 2002/15/CE of 11 March 2002), which is being dealt with by the Committee on Employment and is the main focus of this report.

The health and safety objectives pursued by Directive 2002/15/EC are plagued by two types of problem:

1.  Firstly, the shortcomings in transposing the legislation into national law. The Member States had until 23 March 2005, three years after the entry into force of the directive, to implement its provisions. By that date, one third of the Member States had failed to do so and even now four of them have failed to submit transposal measures. As a result, the Commission considers that it is not in a position to publish its first two-yearly implementation report, which was due in March 2007.

2.  Secondly, there is still uncertainty surrounding the inclusion of self-employed drivers within the scope of the directive, as called for by Parliament. This is still not a reality and was only agreed after arduous conciliation with the Council. On 23 May 2007, the Commission published the report it was required to produce on the consequences of the exclusion of self-employed drivers from the scope of the Directive 2002/15/EC (COM(2007)266). The report was intended to clarify the scope of the legislative measures the Commission needs to propose to ensure that self-employed drivers can be included within its scope by 23 March 2009, as provided for in Article 2(1) of Directive 2002/15/EC. However, the Commission report concluded that it was not yet in a position to introduce the required proposal and that further impact assessment was required, taking into account other elements such as the new Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 on driving time and rest periods. Many have seen the report as an indication that the Commission is no longer supporting the inclusion of self-employed drivers as strongly as it did in the past, and that economic considerations are at odds with or taking precedence over social ones.

On 21 June 2007 and 29 October 2007, Chairman Jan Andersson sent an official communication to Commissioner Vladimir Spidla and Vice-President Jacques Barrot, on behalf of the Committee on Employment, expressing satisfaction that ‘the Commission continues to believe that a reduction in working time for the sector as a whole, including self-employed drivers, will have a positive impact on road safety’. The letter closed by pointing out that ‘it is important to remain consistent with the Regulation on driving time and rest periods, prevent fragmentation of the industry caused by the classification of many workers (falsely) as self-employed drivers, so as to ensure fair competition through implementation of the directive across the road transport sector’.

Vice-President Barrot replied to the letter and said that the available study had not reached a final conclusion on whether self-employed drivers should be included or excluded and that further examination of the question was needed. Accordingly, an official impact assessment study had been launched into three possible options:

A.  maintaining the directive as it stands, with full and automatic inclusion of self-employed drivers with effect from 23 March 2009;

B.  strengthening the directive through provisions to ensure that so-called ‘bogus self-employed drivers’ are included within the scope of the Directive, while genuine self-employed drivers are excluded;

C.  extending the scope of the Directive to all self-employed drivers except for those engaged solely in national transport activities.

In view of the time which has elapsed, Parliament needs to give its views with the dual aim of ensuring that the directive is fully in force across Europe before the end of the current term of office and that the Commission bears in mind that Parliament advocated firm support for the inclusion of all workers in the sector within the organisation of working time, as the only way of effectively and simultaneously safeguarding:

- road safety

- health and safety of drivers

- fair competition within the sector and across the common European area.

(1)

Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006, on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport and amending Council Regulations (EEC) No 3821/85 and (EC) No 2135/98 and repealing Council Regulation (CEE) No 3820/85 (OJ L 102, 11.4. 2006, p. 1), and Directive 2006/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on minimum conditions for the implementation of Council (EEC) No 3820/85 and (EEC) No 3821/85 concerning social legislation relating to road transport activities and repealing Council Directive 88/599/EEC (OJ L 112, 11.4. 2006, p. 35).


OPINION of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (1.7.2008)

for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

on Implementation of the social legislation relating to road transport

(2008/2062(INI))

Draftsman: Helmuth Markov

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Transport and Tourism calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

A.  whereas some Member States failed to supply the required information on inspection and enforcement activities in 2003-2004 under Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 of 20 December 1985 on the harmonization of certain social legislation relating to road transport(1) within the time limits, so that the Commission’s report on the implementation of that Regulation during the period in question (COM(2007)0622)) was submitted one and a half years late,

B.   whereas the next biennial report will have to include, for the first time, information on the implementation of Directive 2002/15/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 on the organisation of the working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities(2),

C.  whereas five Member States (Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and Austria) increased the number of working days checked in 2003-2004, while the number of such days checked fell in the other Member States, with Portugal and Sweden remaining below the prescribed minimum,

D.  whereas the average number of contraventions detected remained stable, though the total number of breaches reported in some Member States rose considerably, with breaches of the rules on breaks and rest periods tending to increase while those on driving times fell,

1.    Regrets that continuing considerable differences still remain in the application and enforcement of Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85; notes that Member States must step up their efforts to guarantee efficient and uniform implementation of the improved social provisions;

2.   Is concerned at the consistently high average number of infringements, particularly in passenger transport, and looks to the Member States to improve enforcement of the rules; calls on the Member States to step up joint initiatives to encourage an exchange of information and personnel, together with coordinated controls;

3.   Calls on the Commission to review traffic inspection procedures in each Member State and forward to the Parliament a report thereon; if inspection procedures restricting the free movement of goods or persons are detected, calls on the Commission to review existing legislation and propose amendments, so as to ensure uniform traffic inspection procedures;

4.   Calls on the Member States and the Commission to submit the information, and the implementation reports based on that information, more rapidly, so that any necessary legal corrections arising from the analysis of the implementation may be addressed without further ado;

5.   Considers that these figures confirm once again its view that there is an urgent need for legal adjustments; is confident, therefore, in the light of Directive 2006/22/EC(3), which entered into force in May 2006, and Regulation (EC) No 561/2006(4), which entered into force in April 2007, that the rules will be more strictly and uniformly enforced in future;

6.   Calls on the Commission, under the comitology procedure set out in Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, to propose guidelines for the uniform definition and classification of infringements by October 2008;

7.   Criticises the delays in the implementation and enforcement of Directive 2002/15/EC, which should have been transposed into national law by 23 March 2005; calls for the temporary exemption for self-employed persons to be abolished as foreseen from 2009 and for the maximum number of hours worked in a two-week period to be set at 100;

8.   Calls on the Commission and Member States to take the necessary measures to ensure adequate investment for road transport infrastructural development; in this context, the construction of secure parking facilities should be a priority;

9.   Urges the Commission to review administrative requirements in terms of efficiency and simplification;

10. Calls on the Commission, in general, to take measures seeking to ensure enforcement and monitoring.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

24.6.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

39

2

0

Members present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Etelka Barsi-Pataky, Paolo Costa, Michael Cramer, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Arūnas Degutis, Christine De Veyrac, Petr Duchoň, Saïd El Khadraoui, Robert Evans, Francesco Ferrari, Brigitte Fouré, Mathieu Grosch, Georg Jarzembowski, Timothy Kirkhope, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Jaromír Kohlíček, Bogusław Liberadzki, Eva Lichtenberger, Seán Ó Neachtain, Josu Ortuondo Larrea, Paweł Bartłomiej Piskorski, Reinhard Rack, Brian Simpson, Renate Sommer, Dirk Sterckx, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Yannick Vaugrenard

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Margrete Auken, Philip Bradbourn, Lily Jacobs, Elisabeth Jeggle, Maria Eleni Koppa, Helmuth Markov, Rosa Miguélez Ramos, Vural Öger, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Ioannis Gklavakis, Helmut Kuhne, Maria Petre, Eoin Ryan

(1)

OJ L 370, 31.12.1985, p. 1.

(2)

OJ L 80, 23.3.2002, p. 35.

(3)

Directive 2006/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on minimum conditions for the implementation of Council Regulations (EEC) No 3820/85 and (EEC) No 3821/85 concerning social legislation relating to road transport activities (OJ L 102, 11.4.2006, p. 35).

(4)

Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport (OJ L 102, 11.4.2006, p. 1).


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

10.9.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

29

16

1

Members present for the final vote

Jan Andersson, Edit Bauer, Iles Braghetto, Philip Bushill-Matthews, Milan Cabrnoch, Alejandro Cercas, Ole Christensen, Derek Roland Clark, Jean Louis Cottigny, Jan Cremers, Proinsias De Rossa, Harald Ettl, Richard Falbr, Carlo Fatuzzo, Ilda Figueiredo, Roger Helmer, Stephen Hughes, Karin Jöns, Ona Juknevičienė, Jean Lambert, Bernard Lehideux, Elizabeth Lynne, Thomas Mann, Maria Matsouka, Mary Lou McDonald, Elisabeth Morin, Juan Andrés Naranjo Escobar, Csaba Őry, Siiri Oviir, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Rovana Plumb, Jacek Protasiewicz, Elisabeth Schroedter, José Albino Silva Peneda, Jean Spautz, Gabriele Stauner, Ewa Tomaszewska, Anne Van Lancker, Gabriele Zimmer

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Petru Filip, Donata Gottardi, Rumiana Jeleva, Sepp Kusstatscher, Claude Moraes, Roberto Musacchio, Csaba Sógor

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