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Procedure : 2010/0212(COD)
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Texts tabled :

A7-0446/2011

Debates :

PV 19/11/2012 - 27
CRE 19/11/2012 - 27

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PV 20/11/2012 - 6.14
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

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P7_TA(2012)0425

Debates
Monday, 19 November 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

27. Approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles - Approval of agricultural or forestry vehicles (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
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  President. − The next item is a joint debate on:

– the report (A7-0445/2011) by Wim van de Camp, on behalf of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles (COM(2010)0542 – C7-0317/2010 – 2010/0271(COD))

and

– the report (A7-0446/2011) by Pier Antonio Panzeri, on behalf of the Committee for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approval of agricultural or forestry vehicles (COM(2010)0395 – C7-0204/2010 – 2010/0212(COD)).

 
  
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  Wim van de Camp, rapporteur. – Good evening Mr Tajani and all the people who are helping you.

(NL) Mr President, Commissioner, we have here a difficult technical and lengthy subject to address, which is very important for the internal market. It concerns not only technical standards for two-wheeled vehicles but certainly also surveillance.

To start with the first topic, technical standards: in the past two years we have had detailed discussions on five points, and those are, at the same time, the subjects of this Regulation. Firstly, the classification of the vehicles is to be made clearer. I have discussed ATVs at length with Mr Panzeri, and we have found a neat solution. We had a very in-depth discussion of the ABS and CBS braking systems on powered two-wheelers, and the braking systems must make for greater safety. For small scooters, we have agreed that there will be further research as to whether that is actually effective. We have also looked at the emission standards for scooters, since they are fairly polluting, especially in urban areas. We have looked at durability mileages: is a scooter still just as clean after five years as after the first year? We also looked at the vehicle lighting.

However, Mr President, it is also very important if we are to keep cheap goods from China, India and Korea that are unsafe out of the EU. That is not protectionism, it is simply protecting quality for our citizens.

Before I continue, I should like once again to thank all those who took part in the consultation, especially the Danish Presidency which made an important contribution, but also, of course, the Council and the Commission, for what we have all achieved.

Another couple of questions for the Commissioner. Firstly, the negotiations on delegated and implementing acts. We have agreed that the industry is being allowed enough time to introduce this new Regulation, but if the consultation on delegated and implementing acts takes too long, there is no lead time left. Therefore I would like an assurance from the Commissioner that the Commission is making progress with the implementing and delegated acts.

A second point, Mr President, concerns emission standards and, in particular, Euro 5 in 2016. The Commission is to investigate this, and the aim is that we look not just at pollution but also at costs and also, here again, at lead time.

In the past few days, the position with electrical bicycles has become somewhat unclear. Electrical bicycles do not come under this Directive. They are covered only by the Machinery Directive, 250 watts and maximum speed 25 km. I would like to keep it at that, because more powerful electrical bicycles just lead to serious accidents. If electrical bicycle manufacturers want something different, they can still be in this Directive.

Finally, Mr President, the contact with English motorcyclists. English motorcyclists have been following what we do with a very critical eye, and rightly so. It is good for democracy for English motorcyclists to keep a critical eye on us. Modification is fine, tuning up is not. English motorcyclists also have to be able to understand that.

 
  
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  Pier Antonio Panzeri, rapporteur. – (IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, the legislative procedure began in November 2010 and has been a demanding task from a technical and political point of view, lasting a good two years and involving three Presidencies. It is therefore appropriate to thank all those who have been involved: the shadow rapporteurs, Parliament’s Secretariat and the political group secretariats and MEPs’ assistants – and, of course, the Commission and the Council. Agreement was reached at first reading, a fact that I consider highly significant.

The objective of this regulation is to lay down harmonised rules on the manufacture of agricultural and forestry vehicles with a view to ensuring the proper functioning of the internal market and, in particular, the application of a large number of important criteria to improve operational, road and occupational safety for users, that is to say workers, and standards of environmental protection. In this context, the introduction in Articles 7 and 8 of new operational and occupational requirements may be considered a real success for the whole of the European Parliament, which has succeeded in covering risks which, at present, affect numerous operators, often with fatal consequences: one need only think of protection from electrical discharge or indeed from overturning.

In addition, we must not underestimate the importance of worker health and safety, and so we have made provisions for the market surveillance of vehicles, systems and components, in order to ensure that all the provisions are implemented properly and carried out effectively. To sum up, the regulation helps to make industry more competitive, since it simplifies current legislation on the approval of vehicles, making it more transparent and reducing red tape. In fact, 24 base directives and around 25 related amending directives on technical requirements are being repealed and replaced by a single regulation.

These aspects are important, because this regulation seeks to achieve other objectives, beyond helping to create a regulated internal market and to provide a framework enabling a competitive, balanced and transparent system. In addition, I believe we are also contributing to strengthening the sector, and in short we are putting in place the conditions for both widening the productive base and increasing employment. The work that has been done is therefore highly important and extremely useful: the compromises found between the political groups are the result of a major collaborative effort undertaken in the right spirit, with the desire to present Parliament with a consensus regulation.

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the Commission. − (IT) Madam President, honourable Members, I am delighted to be here, particularly now at the conclusion of the procedure – a procedure which has been long and, in some cases, difficult – to approve two important technical legislative texts which will also help to reduce the amount of legislation in force. I am also delighted because, as regards the approval of agricultural and forestry vehicles, I made this commitment during the parliamentary hearing when I was Commissioner-designate for Industry, and I am pleased that I have upheld this commitment and that Parliament has been able to approve the provisions thereof.

As Mr Panzeri has already emphasised, the long negotiations have had positive results. I would like to thank both the rapporteurs, and indeed the shadow rapporteurs: the compromise texts are the result of a series of constructive discussions, including discussions with the Commission and the Council, which have taken almost two years because, as I was saying, this is a highly complex subject – from a technical point of view as well. I must emphasise that the new regulations will make a substantial improvement to the environmental and safety performance in all the vehicles we are discussing, which will be advantageous for citizens and the whole of society, and they also allow industry sufficient time to adapt production to the new requirements. Moreover, the simplifying amendments in the two legislative texts will allow costs to public authorities and business to be reduced; so we have succeeded in achieving a number of positive results.

The adoption of these two legislative acts represents an important step forward in the area of simplification under the Better Legislation project and in consolidating the internal market, as the two rapporteurs have reminded us. The two proposed regulations in fact repeal and replace around 40 directives, each of which corresponds to various instances of transposition and implementation, on which I have taken note of the request made by Mr van de Camp, so we shall also make sure we follow up in detail the aspect the rapporteur has brought out. The work has also served to make the two systems of approval more cohesive.

Madam President, I would like to outline some of the main elements in the two texts. First, provisions have been introduced on the access to repair and maintenance information, to ensure conditions of fair competition, to the advantage of those operating in the sector and consumers. Secondly, requirements for market surveillance have been introduced. Thirdly, a cohesive system has been introduced for classification of the different categories of vehicle: a particular case concerns vehicles intended for specific tasks, such as off-road vehicles and utility task vehicles, which can be included in the classifications of both regulations again if they meet the relevant definitions and technical requirements. Fourthly, environmental protection and the safety of the vehicles in question have been improved: I will not go into the individual proposals in detail, since the rapporteurs have already done that with great clarity.

These are just a few in a long list of topics discussed and agreed by Parliament and the Council with, I would say, highly satisfactory results. For this reason, I would like to thank Parliament once again, not least for allowing me to maintain the commitment I undertook before you and before the citizens – which, in my view, has positive benefits for the Community institutions at a time when there is often mistrust towards us. Working well and keeping the promises we have made also means responding concretely to the messages coming through to us from many parts of Europe.

 
  
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  Roberts Zīle, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism. Madam President, first of all let me congratulate the rapporteur Wim van de Camp on the agreement reached by the Council and by Parliament. In the Committee on Transport we looked at this proposal mainly from a road safety aspect because moped and motorcycle accidents represent around 16 % of the total number of road deaths in the EU. I therefore welcome the fact that the agreed text will tackle in the most optimal way the road safety performances of motor bikes, mopeds, scooters and quads and will lay down the most appropriate and effective safety measures and technical requirements.

I also welcome the inclusion of off-road quads under this regulation because this was one of the Transport Committee’s proposals. Indeed these quads, which are often designed for use off-road, are driven on public roads and should therefore fulfil the minimal functional safety requirements.

As regards anti-lock braking systems and combined braking systems for motorbikes, the Transport Committee considered that achieving the maximum achievable level of safety was a top priority. If future impact assessment demonstrates that anti-lock braking systems can assure the best braking performances for all performance motorbikes, then this should be addressed in this regulation if the case has been proven.

Finally, I support the solution which has been found for the inclusion of Enduro trial motorcycles within the scope of this regulation.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz, on behalf of the PPE Group. – (HU) Madam President, first of all, I would like to congratulate Mr van de Camp on his report. I feel that this long-awaited motion rightly draws attention to this sector and to the question of what requirements should be met in the manufacture of such vehicles. When regulating, however, we must pay attention to the fact that the two-wheel motor-vehicle sector plays a particularly important role in the EU from the perspective of the economy and jobs. About 100 medium-sized manufacturers account for 90 % of European production, and the remaining 10 % is divided up among numerous small manufacturers. All of them operate in different Member States.

I think the deficiencies in the background to the minor problems experienced up to now were primarily of a regulatory nature, or a result of the fact that there have been directives, regulations, standards and provisions like the environmental-protection standards, for example, that were created in 2006. For all these reasons, further progress by the European Commission is recommended for the gradual introduction of new European grades over the next decade.

This report also contains vehicle-safety provisions, since improvements in the safety of motorcycles on public roads is high on the list of strategic objectives for the European Union between 2011 and 2020. It is therefore also important that the end result gives all of us a significant amount of added value in order for us to deal with this matter properly.

Improvements to the operation of the internal market are necessary, on the one hand to enable unrestricted access to vehicle repair information through achieving regulation of technical information, and on the other so that there is real competition in the market for vehicle repair and maintenance information services.

With regard to the manufacturers’ websites, it is therefore appropriate to define technical provisions and targeted measures to ensure acceptable access for small and medium-sized enterprises too. This is particularly important in the present situation. In addition to its numerous positive points, the report revises the market-surveillance procedures under the relevant regulation, in comparison with the former monitoring system, and thus aims at the development of a much more effective monitoring system. It is also important that it distinguishes between type-approved and non-type-approved products, so all components and independent technical units that are built into the vehicle will be subject to monitoring from now on.

On the whole, therefore, we can say that we must exploit the synergies arising from the review of legislation on the type-approval of motorcycles. The rapporteur has done some excellent work. I would like to congratulate him once more; in the future, we will not need to do anything other than transpose regulations of the highest quality and make sure that they are brought to fruition as quickly as possible in order to achieve the goals defined in the report.

 
  
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  Kerstin Westphal, on behalf of the S&D Group. – (DE) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen. I can only say that patience is its own reward. The report on type approval for Category L vehicles has turned out well in the end. The work took longer, overall, than we all thought it would – certainly longer than we hoped it would – and there were a lot more pitfalls along the way than we would have liked.

However, I would like, at this point, to thank the rapporteur, Mr van de Camp, most warmly for his excellent cooperation. Together we achieved a lot in our talks with the Member States. As rapporteur for my group, I commend this report to the House – even though it could have been better. By better I mean safer.

For us Social Democrats, the emphasis right from the start was on the safety of vehicles and thus the safety of their drivers, above all those driving scooters and motorcycles. The figures for motorcycle accidents have remained constant for years. Basically the number of fatal accidents is declining in Europe – apart from those involving motorcycles.

Cutting the number of motorcycle and scooter fatalities is something I feel passionate about. Fewer deaths on Europe’s roads was and is my goal. Each death is one death too many. In a regulation that brings so much benefit to the internal market, this issue must be addressed with vigour.

I remain convinced that this can be achieved through effective anti-lock braking systems (ABS). I am equally convinced that they are cost-effective. It just is not true that ABS is too expensive. Anyway, we have secured a mandatory requirement that manufacturers must, as of 2016, fit all new motorcycles of 125 cc and over, and from 2017 all existing motorcycles of that capacity, with ABS.

Motor scooters may be fitted, at the choice of the vehicle manufacturer, with ABS or a combined brake system. In this respect, it must be said, unfortunately, that we have not managed to improve on the Commission’s proposal. I would have liked to have achieved a lot more here, but the Commission and Member States were – I choose my words carefully – very slow to move forward on the whole business.

However, we secured the promise of a Commission report in 2019. The report is to include road accident figures from the Member States and will consider the mandatory fitting of ABS to motor scooters. It will be forwarded to Parliament and the Council. On the basis of the report, the Commission will then decide whether or not to make the fitting of ABS to motor scooters mandatory.

As you can see, this remains very much a work in progress. Thus we shall seek to close the loophole in the law in 2019. I am sure the figures we receive will vindicate me. I am convinced that this is indeed a good day for two-wheeler riders in Europe, and that we shall see a drop in the accident figures in future.

 
  
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  Toine Manders, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – (NL) Mr President, I also want to thank Mr van de Camp and Mr Panzeri for their cooperation. These are two important Regulations for improving the internal market. They increase safety, improve the environment, provide more clarity for manufacturers and consumers and reduce costs and especially administrative burdens and, above all, rules. As a liberal, I am very much in favour of that.

It was a particularly technical subject, very technical. I often thought of myself as a technocrat. It was so difficult and the number of amendments was so huge that I felt more like an engineer than a politician.

Mr President, I would have liked this report to have a rather more political dimension. For instance, do we want to have interchangeable batteries in future when vehicles are electric? Do we want to encourage innovation or do we fix everything now in the type approval? Do we want more visibility, for instance on the side, to ensure safety? How can we prevent counterfeits or poor quality products? Mr van de Camp has also mentioned that.

For instance, will our vehicles have ‘made in Europe’ on them, or do we not indicate where they are made? How can we prevent unfair competition? For instance, I often hear complaints about tractors and trailers being used, whilst on the other hand lorries are used that have to conform to much more complicated type approval.

Last but not least, Mr President, the driver often determines how safe his vehicle is. I would have liked us to establish minimum European rules for drivers and requirements for regular further training or information, because you get your driving licence at one time, but the technical changes to vehicles also change that and drivers are often not prepared for that.

All in all, Mr President, it is a good result. I am satisfied with it and I will recommend that my group vote in favour of it. In future, however, I would like us to make issues like this a little more political so that even citizens outside this building are a bit more interested in our work. Then we can expect political fireworks. I hope that it will succeed. I am most grateful to you, and I hope that tomorrow a huge majority will vote in favour on these two reports.

 
  
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  Malcolm Harbour, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Madam President, as well as the chairman of the committee, I also had the privilege of shadowing both these dossiers and chairing the conciliation committees. I want to particularly thank both the rapporteurs for their persistence in dealing with very substantial technical issues. I note that Mr Manders wants to make them politically more exciting, but these are actually really important dossiers for both industries which are going to set the pattern for a simplified and effective type-approval system from now on.

In the case of motorcycles, I think it is particularly important that we have brought the environmental and safety performance of motorcycles forward significantly. Also let us remember that other light three- and four-wheel vehicles were included in this category. These vehicles are going to become more popular in urban environments and contribute to lower-carbon transport, and it was absolutely right to give them this framework. I want to thank Wim van de Camp in particular, because he also ensured that the phasing-in of those changes is handled in a sensible way and that we have effective and cost-efficient test methods.

On agricultural tractors, again we had similar issues to contend with, but of course this also included road-going agricultural machinery, requiring a very complex series of rules and regulations. But we now have a genuine European type-approval system which will enable manufacturers – and there are many smaller manufacturers in this area – to present products for approval, and they can be sold anywhere in the European Union. I particularly welcome the fact that we are anticipating the development of higher-speed tractors now that we have more agricultural contracting, so those are included. We also resolved the issue of having two categories of light four-wheel quad bike vehicles, one for agriculture and one for leisure use.

Overall I think it is a remarkable example of collaboration between the two rapporteurs. I think my committee has handled this in an exemplary way, and I will just conclude by saying to the Commissioner that, of course, we are not finished yet. The scrutiny of aspects of the delegated acts – this is the first major package – is something that we will give great attention to, because we want to make absolutely sure that what is in these proposals is carried out satisfactorily and according to the needs of all the stakeholders.

 
  
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  John Bufton, on behalf of the EFD Group. – Madam President, there is significant concern regarding the justification of Article 18, which fails to provide any evidential basis for anti-tampering or for powertrains on functional safety and environmental grounds. Annex XVIII of the 2010 IMCO impact assessment clearly demonstrates this.

The decision reached through trialogue to exempt bikes over 48 horsepower ties in with forthcoming driving licence directives, yet the regulation does not clarify this. If it is not about licence requirements and is based solely upon safety and environmental objectives, why are bikes over 48 horsepower exempt? The argument is somewhat circular.

No impact assessment on the aftermarket part sales has been completed. If only fully type-approved parts may be sold in future, it could disproportionately affect smaller aftermarket producers who are unable to justify the cost of getting their products permitted.

While the draft text has been on the IMCO website since 10 September 2012, it has existed in a shamefully incomplete form and the final document has not been accessible via the procedural file until this morning. What is being presented before Parliament today has not been in the public domain, nor in the necessary required languages, for long enough to enable due consideration. The overall process is of dubious democratic legality. There is a distinct lack of transparency surrounding legislation being pushed through having been rubber-stamped without proportionate scrutiny from Parliament ahead of the vote tomorrow. Reasons of budgetary restrictions have been given by the Commission for their manner of working. However, in light of this, I would ask at the very least that the vote be postponed until the correct democratic procedure has been followed.

 
  
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  Jacky Hénin, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. − (FR) Madam President, trying to regulate everything at the same time makes regulations incomprehensible and ineffective.

Do we really think that quads, electric bikes, mini motorbikes, side-cars and motocross bikes really belong in the same category of vehicles? Obviously not! Particularly as some of these vehicle are increasingly used for purposes other than those for which they were originally intended. It is therefore very appropriate to establish some sub-categories. Let us take a category of motor vehicles by way of illustration.

In just a few years, quad-bikes, mini-motorbikes and mini-quad bikes have become a real plague of modern times because a minority of their drivers use them away from allocated areas in unsafe situations. They have become a danger to pedestrians, cyclists and animals and have caused considerable damage.

They are often low-cost products that do not, as a general rule, meet the safety requirements for use on the public highway. In France, 61 % of victims of accidents caused by quad bikes, mini-motorbikes or mini-quads are children under 10 years of age. These vehicles are, by their very nature, prone to accidents.

That is why we believe that it is crucial to give priority to passing legislation that further reinforces the law on safety, driver-training, noise emissions and driving conditions, the aim being, we all understand, to protect victims and law-abiding drivers.

It would appear to us to be a complete no-brainer to define a European concept of enhanced safety and compulsory recycling and, above all, to prohibit any import that does not comply with the standards that that concept demands.

 
  
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  Gay Mitchell (PPE). – Madam President, I would like to thank the rapporteurs, Wim van de Camp and Antonio Panzeri, for their reports. I want to take the opportunity in the presence of the Commissioner to raise concerns about some aspects of the safety requirements that the Commission is proposing through its roadworthiness package which was introduced in July 2012.

Previously only four-wheel vehicles had been subject to mandatory annual testing; now all two- and three-wheelers including motorcycles, mopeds and scooters, will come under the umbrella for periodic roadworthiness tests through the Commission’s proposal. I have not seen a convincing case for the introduction of these tests for motorcycles.

It was pointed out in a study co-funded by the European Commission that only about 1 % of accidents involving motorcycles are caused or linked to technical defects. Clearly road safety is the key concern in this debate, yet it is important that when carrying out assessments of safety requirements we compare past country experiences in a thorough manner.

If we take the Netherlands, for example, there they have one of the lowest annual rates of motorcycle accidents, as I understand it, yet they have no compulsory roadworthiness tests for motorcycles. Additionally, Sweden is the only country in Scandinavia where periodic roadworthiness tests are mandatory for motorcycles. There was previously an annual test requirement for motorcycles older than 10 years, but this was changed in 2004 to biennial tests. One of the reasons was because roadworthiness tests did not require this sort of frequency. So far as I am informed, this decision has had no negative effective on Swedish motorcycle accident statistics.

It has been estimated that for users of motorcycles in Europe the proposal could inflict annual costs of up to EUR 1.2 billion. The costs of these measures may far outweigh the expected benefits. Will mandatory testing for all motorcycles make a real impact on accidents statistics in Europe? Let us see the evidence. We need to take a balanced approach on this especially in these difficult times where extra costs can be overwhelming for families and citizens. It is important that we lay down harmonised rules on the administrative and technical requirements for certain vehicles. These reports before us here tonight make vital steps to simplify legislation and to ensure that we are on the right path to making vehicles safer through internal harmonisation. However, it is important to harmonise policies across the EU, but only where they have a real impact.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D).(RO) Mr President, to aid the development and functioning of the EU internal market, Member States’ approval systems should be replaced with a harmonised European type-approval system. To simplify the legal framework and to ensure a high level of functional safety, safety at work and protection for the environment, the technical requirements and environmental standards that apply to vehicles, systems, components and separate technical units, need to be harmonised, in the type-approval both of forestry and agricultural vehicles, and of vehicles with two or three wheels and quadricycles.

Similarly, the Regulation on two- and three-wheeled vehicles and quadricycles will improve road safety, with new technologies better taken into account, and improve market surveillance. We would stress that the Regulation on type-approval for forestry and agricultural vehicles must not affect national or EU measures on the use of these vehicles on public roads, such as specific requirements in respect of driving licences, maximum speed limits or measures to control access to certain roads.

To improve the functioning of the internal market, especially in respect of the free movement of goods, freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services, unlimited access is needed to vehicle repair information, through the use of a standardised format, and fair competition on the market for vehicle repair services, and services providing information about their maintenance. To this end, it would be a good idea to establish the technical specifications that should be available on manufacturers’ websites.

I welcome the inclusion in the text of the Regulation on two- and three-wheeled vehicles and quadricycles of the amendment proposed by the Committee on Transport and Tourism, requiring that, where importers have reason to believe that a vehicle, system, component, separate technical unit, spare part or tool is not in conformity with the requirements of this Regulation, and in particular does not correspond to its type-approval, they shall not make it available on the market, allow it to be used, or allow the vehicle, system, component or separate technical unit to be registered, until its compliance has been re-confirmed.

 
  
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  Riikka Manner (ALDE). (FI) Madam President, Commissioner, first I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on this very good report.

In terms of the operation of the single market, it is important for harmonised type-approval for machinery and devices to be in place in the EU. This regulation will significantly help European manufacturers of, among other things, tractors, because mutual recognition of type-approval will provide the industry with better conditions than now to expand their operations to other (the speaker’s microphone stopped working) … point of view, the regulation is very important.

For example, machinery and devices occupy a significant place in the work of agricultural and forestry businesses and also, unfortunately, frequently present dangers. There have been many industrial accidents, so agricultural businesses can never be too careful about occupational safety. The safety of machinery and devices is an essential part of a safe working environment. Harmonised European type-approval is therefore very important to ensure that each European farmer and forestry worker can work with safe machinery.

The high levels of occupational safety and environmental protection are also important factors in this regulation. National flexibility should, however, have a place in the regulation because it is good for small manufacturers to have the opportunity to gain national type-approval. It eases the administrative burden on small manufacturers because many of them sell machinery only within individual Member States. It is also important that maximum speed limits for agricultural and forestry vehicles are set nationally.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, first of all I would like to thank the two rapporteurs, especially Mr Panzeri, who has demonstrated excellent skills as a mediator. The debate relates to two regulations which address similar and highly technical subject matter: in one case, the approval of agricultural and forestry vehicles, and, in the other, that of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles. Discussion in committee and with the Council has resulted in a well-supported compromise agreement and an almost unanimous vote in favour. The rationale for the provisions is that of simplifying the current legal framework and of introducing new administrative and technical requirements on environmental and safety aspects.

As regards vehicles used for particular agricultural and forestry purposes, the starting point was the consideration that, since the numbers of such vehicles are limited, there was no need to burden them excessively with requirements on environmental and technical performance. Agreement was also reached on four-wheel vehicles, called quadricycles, dividing them into two categories: those used for sporting purposes and as private vehicles, and those used exclusively in agriculture and forestry. It is clear that quadricycles used in agriculture and forestry must be adapted and hence differentiated from products intended for ordinary transport. Another positive aspect is that agreement was reached with the manufacturers of these vehicles on access to repair and maintenance information.

Where motorcycles are concerned, the environmental requirements considered will not be excessively onerous for the manufacturers to adapt to, inasmuch as they represent less than 3 % of the total mileage undertaken by road transport and so, by analogy, they have almost no influence on air pollution. My vote on the two measures will therefore be in favour, particularly since manufacturers and indeed users have, for too long now, been awaiting regulations which are clearer, more precise and simpler and easier to apply.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE).(GA) Thank you, Madam President. I have to say that I am very satisfied with the work that has been done by the rapporteur, Wim van de Camp. He, himself, rides a motorbike and I think that that is very important in terms of the report. In my role as shadow rapporteur for the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), I received many emails from European motorbike riders about this matter and I believe that Mr van de Camp has achieved a fair balance. This touches on one of Parliament’s main objectives: road safety. I am particularly pleased with the emphasis on the anti-lock brake system and the combined brake system, and on the requirement for properly fitted daytime running lights. We know that motorbike riders are eight times more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers of other types of vehicles. We cannot deny this. I hope that the motorbike riders will understand why this legislation is so very important. I am pleased that there was a trialogue between the Council, the Commission and Mr van de Camp, on behalf of the European Parliament, even though it took a long time to get to that point. At long last, we have legislation that is coherent and appropriate. We Europeans must work together to reduce the number of deaths on our roads. As regards the other report, that is, the Panzeri report on agricultural or forestry vehicles, I am reasonably satisfied that the rapporteur has reached a good enough balance in order to avoid red tape. I believe that this report is good for the environment, for the internal market and for the cross-border market for these agricultural and forestry vehicles, and I hope that it will help to create a competitive market for these vehicles in the European Union.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, the number of road accidents involving riders of two-wheeled motorised vehicles is much too high and must be reduced. The risk they run is higher than for car drivers. I welcome the simplification of the current legal framework and feel that, in this context, greater importance should be given to the environmental, safety and market supervision aspects.

At the same time, we should be aiming to improve the internal market and to protect essential public interests. This is the only way we can achieve more efficient, safer and more environmentally friendly urban mobility. I think that innovation in vehicles and the economic aspects of the proposal are of major importance. To supervise the European market more effectively, clear stages and compulsory criteria need to be established.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D). – Madame President, the compromise reached with the Council paves the way for a clearer and simpler legal framework for motorbikes. The increased safety requirements are of paramount importance – given the vulnerability of bikers on our roads, who account for a disproportionately high proportion of road accident fatalities – but we also need to be able to explain the advantages of legislative reform to our constituents in a clear and grounded fashion.

Earlier this year, I asked the Commission to provide me with detailed data on our benchmarks on the relative performance of anti-lock braking systems on tar and chip road surfaces, which are estimated by the Irish Department of Transportation to account for 85 % of the total Irish road network. In its response, the Commission simply referred me to its impact assessment which is based on scientific literature and post-accident data.

Needless to say, I read the impact assessment and, had the data been explicitly quoted, I would not have needed to ask the Commission for further information. I must now, therefore, reiterate my request to the Commission to forward such data to me so that I can properly inform my constituents of this proposal’s benefits in terms of safety.

 
  
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  Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR).(PL) Madam President, Vice-President of the Commission, we have an Italian evening today in the European Parliament, with Madam President from Italy and the Vice-President of the European Commission from Italy, and the subject of our debate is of great importance. I speak as a former member – for two and half years – of the Committee on Transport and Tourism. I think today’s debate is all the more important because – although it is a fact that not everything can be regulated by legal provisions, and I am against that – in this particular case, such provisions are necessary. The number of accidents involving motorcyclists, including fatal accidents, is appalling, in my country too. In this very Chamber, we have a colleague from Poland, a member of the European Parliament, who miraculously avoided death in a motorcycle accident – although he is not here today at this time (a pity, because he might have something to say on the matter). I believe these regulations are necessary, and it is good that we are adopting them. They have my full support.

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD).(SK) Madam President, simplification of the rules for approval and operation of small motor vehicles, three-wheeled vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds will surely be good news for users of such means of transport, as long as this does not make the use of their equipment more complicated for them. However, the new safety and environmental measures will probably cause manufacturers and retailers some more serious concerns. Also, the mandatory introduction of anti-lock braking systems for this category of vehicles will also certainly be reflected in higher product costs. Equally, tighter emission requirements will force manufacturers into even greater modernisation of production – and further increase the price of these vehicles. Let us hope that greater safety for users and greater consideration for the environment will be appropriate compensation for the higher prices required by the new European legislation, and let us trust that our citizens will also see it that way.

 
  
 

(End of the catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the Commission. − (IT) Madam President, honourable Members, Mr Manders has raised an important point: this does indeed seem, at first sight, to be a debate that could take place in a specialist forum. In reality, this is not the case, because we have together achieved important political results by approving these two legislative texts.

First of all, these are standards which will lead to improvements in road safety and help to protect our fellow citizens; they are standards which simplify the previous legislation – and this is another measure that meets the demands of our fellow citizens – and they are standards which provide better protection for the environment and, at the same time, help our enterprises, whether large or small, operating in the motor-vehicle sector. I would like to emphasise, in particular from the point of view of small and medium-sized enterprises, as Ms Gáll-Pelcz and Mr Harbour have reminded us, that we have seized the opportunity to adapt the rules governing type-approval, both for light vehicles and for agricultural and forestry vehicles, to technical progress – another political victory.

In both groups of vehicles, technology has undergone rapid development, which is destined to continue under the impetus of European industry. From the point of view of regulation, it is, of course, always a challenge to keep pace with technical progress, but, in this case, we have succeeded. These are factors that are essential to a competitive European industry and which will ensure entry into the market of safe, environmentally sound vehicles that are exclusively of benefit to our citizens.

Mr Manders is not here, but I would like to respond to the point he raised about counterfeiting and market surveillance. I have just returned from the Anti-Counterfeiting Conference, which was held in Milan today, and I confirmed the commitment of the Commission, not only as regards the toys, rubber and footwear sectors but also in the automotive sector, pointing out that the text approved by the Commission for CARS 2020 obliges me to proceed with the same determination in respect of surveillance of and counterfeiting in the internal market. We intend to take the same line for the two vehicle sectors we have been discussing today: the objective is therefore to improve the legislative measures that regulate conformity of production and to identify and define the obligations of the economic operators in the supply chain.

A third aspect: to clarify the role and responsibility of the approval bodies in the Member States and those in charge of market surveillance. Since the Commission does not have its own police force, we rely on the commitment of the Member States to be vigilant about counterfeiting. Fourth point: the commitment to establish a forum to coordinate the market surveillance activities between the Member States and the European Commission. Fifth point: to strengthen the requirements as regards competition, and the technical service obligations and performance that result in the approval of a vehicle. I have also noted the request made by Ms Prendergast, to whom we shall send all the information she asked for so that she can inform her constituents. It is a shame that she has left the Chamber, but we shall contact her because, apart from the impact assessment, we shall provide her with all the elements in our possession.

I can only thank once again the two rapporteurs: I cannot make a gift of a motorcycle to Mr van de Camp nor a tractor to Mr Panzeri, but I think everyone who uses motorcycles and tractors will be grateful to both of them for the work they have done to make the lives of users of these vehicles more straightforward and pleasant.

 
  
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  Wim van de Camp, rapporteur. − (NL) Mr President, firstly I thank the Commissioner for the answers and also my colleagues, nearly all of whom are now going home, for the compliments and the support I have received.

I have listened carefully to the Commissioner. He says he will keep a close watch on the lead time for the industry and that the delegated and implementing acts will not go on for too long, so that the industry will have enough time to implement the new Regulation. He has not explicitly come back to the research into the ABS on small scooters and the research for Euro 5, which is to come in 2016. I assume, however, that that is also noted and that it is being taken into account.

I have one more question, but that must be an observation in view of this debate. Will the communication on this Regulation become clear? We are, in fact, simplifying enormously, we are making maintenance and repair information very accessible. I think it is good for the EU to provide good information on that point.

I would say to Mr Bufton that, if he had taken part in the debate earlier, he would have been able to exert an influence on the whole issue. However, it is the first time I have seen him this evening and, of course, that is a real shame. One more thing: I have actually bought a new BMW motorbike for next year. I think that is good for the European industry, rather than a Japanese bike.

 
  
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  Pier Antonio Panzeri, rapporteur. − (IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I thank the Vice-President for his contribution. I would not know where to put a tractor, so it is just as well that it is staying where it belongs.

I do not think there is anything more to add: the debate has shown the degree of consensus surrounding the proposed regulation on agricultural and forestry vehicles. Now I hope that this consensus will be completely confirmed in the vote in the Chamber. This is what we have worked for, and so I really hope this result can be achieved.

 
  
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  President. − The joint debate is closed.

The vote will take place on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 at 12.00.

Written statements (Article 149)

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing.(RO) The aim of this legislative proposal is to establish harmonised norms for the manufacture of agricultural and forestry vehicles, so that the existing legislation on vehicle type-approval can be simplified. I consider that the new regulation needs to be flexible enough to allow both the ongoing development of currently existing vehicles and the introduction of new types of vehicle. The technical requirements for approval of agricultural vehicles in respect of many environmental and safety features have been harmonised at EU level to ensure a high level of road safety and safety at work, as well as a high level of protection for the environment. In closing, I would like to stress that the proposal helps the industrial sector to become more competitive and the internal market to function correctly.

 
  
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  Debora Serracchiani (S&D), in writing. – (IT) I welcome this regulation, which aims to establish a series of harmonised standards on the production of agricultural and forestry vehicles. It is an excellent legislative text, in which there is the proper balance between the need to guarantee a high level of safety on the road and at work and to protect the environment. Adapting to safety standards is not just an obligation; it is an absolute necessity. This regulation moves things in the right direction, since it covers every aspect of operational safety in tractors, both as regards their movement on the road and in the performance of agricultural work.

The proposed regulation significantly simplifies current legislation on approvals, replacing 24 base directives and approximately another 35 amending directives. The regulation was needed in order finally to harmonise the market for the agricultural and construction machinery sector too. I am delighted that the proposed approval at European level for all categories of vehicle takes account of cost-benefit considerations, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises.

 
Last updated: 1 March 2013Legal notice