• ES - español
  • DE - Deutsch
  • EN - English
  • FR - français
  • NL - Nederlands
Report - A4-0291/1996Report
A4-0291/1996

REPORT on the proposal for a Council Regulation laying down the conditions under which non-resident carriers may operate national road passenger transport services within a Member State (COM(95)0729 - C4-0113/96 - 96/0002(SYN))

2 October 1996

Committee on Transport and Tourism
Rapporteur: Mr Mark Killilea

By letter of 9 February 1996 the Council consulted Parliament, pursuant to Articles 189c and 75 of the EC Treaty, on the proposal for a Council Regulation laying down the conditions under which non-resident carriers may operate national road passenger transport services within a Member State.

At the sitting of 16 February 1996 the President of Parliament announced that he had referred this proposal to the Committee on Transport and Tourism as the committee responsible and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy and the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights for their opinions.

At its meeting of 2 December 1994 the Committee on Transport and Tourism had appointed Mr Killilea rapporteur.

It considered the Commission proposal and the draft report at its meetings of 20 March 1996, 28 May 1996, 24 July 1996 and 1 October 1996.

At the last meeting it adopted the draft legislative resolution unanimously.

The following took part in the vote: Cornelissen, chairman; Parodi, vice-chairman; Lüttge, vice-chairman; Kaklamanis, vice-chairman; Killilea, rapporteur; Baldarelli (for Megahy), Belleré, Blott (for Le Rachinel, pursuant to Rule 138(2)), Burtone (for Nicholson), Castricum, Cunningham (for Schlechter), Danesin, Farthofer, Grosch, Koch, McIntosh, Mendonça (for Farassino), Miller (for Panagopoulos), Morris (for Watts), Novo Belenguer (for Dary), Pelttari, Piecyk, Rehder, Salafranca, Sarlis, Sisó Cruellas, Stenmarck, Schmidbauer, Simpson B., Sindal, Stockmann, Tamino (for van Dijk), van der Waal and Wijsenbeek.

The opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy is attached. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights decided at its meeting of 22 February 1996 not to deliver an opinion.

The report was tabled on 2 October 1996.

The deadline for tabling amendments will appear on the draft agenda for the relevant part-session.

A LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL - DRAFT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) laying down the conditions under which non-resident carriers may operate national road passenger transport services within a Member State (COM(95)0729 - C40113/96 - 96/0002(SYN))

The proposal is approved with the following amendments:

Text proposed by the Commission[1]

Amendments by Parliament

(Amendment 1)

Recital 5a (new)

Whereas carriers providing such services should be subject to comparable systems, so as to limit inequality in the conditions of competition because of their nationality and country of establishment, and hence promote the gradual approximation of national legislations;

(Amendment 2)

Recital 5b (new)

Whereas maintaining fifteen different systems for cabotage is incompatible with the provisions of the Treaty concerning the Internal Market;

(Amendment 3)

Recital 6

Whereas establishing the internal market involves the abolition of frontier controls and, consequently, an increase in intra-Community traffic;

Whereas within the European Union the internal market is an area in which goods, persons, services, and capital are able to move freely and whereas it is necessary for the liberalization of passenger transport services by bus and coach to proceed simultaneously with gradual harmonization of the socio-economic, tax, and technical conditions applying to road passenger transport services within the Member States, which should, moreover, guarantee operators non-discriminatory conditions;

(Amendment 4)

Recital 6a (new)

Whereas from an environmental point of view it is desirable to offer carriers the possibility, through improved rules, of optimizing the degree of capacity utilization of their vehicles;

(Amendment 5)

Recital 6b (new)

Whereas the aims of the common transport policy include the reduction of intra-Community road traffic whilst respecting users' right to choose mode of transport;

(Amendment 6)

Recital 6c (new)

Whereas, according to the common transport policy action programme 1995-2000 (COM(95)0302), accessibility of transport systems is one of the aims of the policy; whereas, furthermore, in its resolution of 16 September 1987 on transport for the handicapped and elderly persons,1 the European Parliament already called for bus services to be made fully accessible, especially where intercity routes across Europe were concerned;

1 OJ C 281, 19.10.1987, p. 85 (report by Mr Ramirez Heredia, A2-0112/87).

(Amendment 7)

Recital 6d (new)

Whereas, according to the common transport policy priorities set out in the White Paper (COM(92)0494), the Commission will submit, before 30 June 1997, proposals for the extension of cabotage to own-account transport services, for the liberalization of the hire of vehicles without drivers for passenger transport in other Member States, and, finally, for cabotage passenger transport services using vehicles designed to carry fewer than nine passengers;

(Amendment 8)

Recital 7

Whereas the rules applicable to cabotage for all forms of coach and bus service must be established;

Whereas the rules applicable to cabotage for all forms of coach and bus service must be established, whether the service is actually provided by a firm resident in the host Member State or by a non-resident firm;

(Amendment 9)

Recital 8

Whereas the provisions of the host Member State applicable to cabotage transport operations should be fixed;

Whereas the provisions of the host Member State applicable to cabotage transport operations should be fixed, so as to ensure that such transport operations are carried out under a comparable authorization system and comparable regulatory conditions, whether these regular services are purely national or are part of an international service;

(Amendment 10)

Recital 8a (new)

Whereas it would be desirable for cabotage passenger transport service operators to have, on the territory of the Member State in which the services are provided, a representative whom users could contact if necessary;

(Amendment 11)

Article 1, first indent

Any carrier who operates road passenger transport services for hire or reward who:

Any carrier who operates road passenger transport services for hire or reward who:

- is established in a Member State, hereinafter referred to as the 'Member State of establishment', in accordance with its legislation, and

- is established in a Member State of the Community where his main centre of activity or registered place of business is located, hereinafter referred to as the 'Member State of establishment', in accordance with its legislation, and

(Amendment 12)

Article 2(3)

3. 'Special regular services' means regular services which provide for the carriage of specified categories of passengers, to the exclusion of other passengers, at specified intervals along specified routes, passengers being taken up and set down at predetermined stopping points. Regular services shall be open to all - subject, where appropriate, to compulsory reservation.

3. 'Special regular services' means services which provide for the carriage of specified categories of passengers, to the exclusion of other passengers, at specified intervals along specified routes, passengers being taken up and set down at predetermined stopping points. Regular services shall be open to all - subject, where appropriate, to compulsory reservation.

Special regular services shall include:

Special regular services shall include:

(a) the carriage of workers between home and work;

(a) the carriage of workers between home and work;

(b) carriage to and from the educational institution for school pupils and students;

(b) carriage to and from the educational institution for school pupils and students;

(c) the carriage of soldiers and their families between their place of origin and the area of their barracks.

(c) the carriage of soldiers or members of other security forces and their families between their place of origin and the area of their barracks.

(Amendment 13)

Article 3

With effect from the date of entry into force of this Regulation, cabotage transport operations shall be authorized for the following services:

1. special regular services and occasional services;

2. the regular services defined in Article 2(1), provided they are performed by a carrier not resident in the host Member State in the course of a regular international service in accordance with the provisions of Council Regulation 684/92;

3. the other regular services.

With effect from the date of entry into force of this Regulation, cabotage transport operations shall be authorized for the following services:

1. special regular services and occasional services;

2. the regular services defined in Article 2(1), with the exception of domestic routes in geographical areas already covered by EU legislation, in particular by Council Directive 93/38/EEC, provided they are performed by a carrier not resident in the host Member State in the course of a regular international service in accordance with the provisions of Council Regulation 684/92 and are authorized in accordance with the provisions of Article 4(1);

3. Until such time as the Council adopts a regulation on the contracting of transport services on the basis of public service obligations, regular urban, suburban and regional services shall not be covered by this Regulation; in addition, other regular services shall be excluded in geographical areas in which services have been put out to tender under EU tendering procedures or are to be put out to tender by 2002.

(Amendment 14)

Article 4

1. Cabotage transport operations carried out in accordance with Article 3(2) shall be subject to authorization by the competent authorities in the host Member State.

Deleted.

2. Applications for authorization may be refused:

(a) if the competent authorities in the host Member State produce evidence that the regular service for which the application to perform cabotage operations has been submitted would directly compromise the existence of regular services already authorized, except in cases in which the regular services in question are carried out only by a single carrier or group of carriers;

(b) if the competent authorities in the host Member State produce evidence that the regular service for which the application to perform cabotage operations has been submitted is aimed only at the most lucrative of the services existing on the links concerned.

The fact that an operator offers lower prices than are offered by other road carriers or the fact that the link in question is already operated by other road carriers may not in itself constitute justification for rejecting the application.

Paragraph 4(a) of Article 7 of Regulation (EEC) No 684/92 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to applications for authorization of cabotage operations in the form of the regular services provided in Article 3(2).

Reasons must be given for rejection of the application.

The competent authorities may refuse applications only on the basis of reasons compatible with this Regulation.

3. The Member States shall guarantee carriers an opportunity to defend their interests in the event of rejection of their application for authorization.

4. Authorizations shall be issued in the name of the transport undertaking; they may not be transferred by the latter to third parties. However, the carrier who has received the authorization may, with the consent of the competent authority in the host Member State, operate the service through the only subcontractor authorized to provide the international service referred to in Article 2(1)(1) of Regulation (EEC) No. 684/92. In this case, the name and role of the subcontractor shall be indicated in the authorization. The subcontractor must fulfil the conditions laid down in Article 1.

In the case of undertakings associated for the purpose of performing cabotage operations in the form of a regular service, the cabotage authorization shall be issued in the names of all the undertakings. It shall be given to the undertaking that manages the operation and copies shall be given to the others. The authorization shall state the names of all the operators.

5. The authorization shall be valid for a maximum of five years and, in any case, for not longer than the authorization relating to the international service within the framework of which the cabotage operation is carried out.

6. Save in the event of force majeure, the operator of a regular cabotage service shall, until the authorization expires, take all measures to guarantee a transport service that fulfils the standards of continuity, regularity and capacity and the other conditions laid down by the competent authority of the host Member State with regard to the route of the service, the bus stops, the timetable and the period of validity of the authorization. These conditions may not be less favourable than the conditions applied to regular transport services provided by resident carriers.

7. The authorization or a certified true copy thereof must be kept on board the vehicle.

8. The Commission shall, after consulting the Member States, lay down the model for applications for authorization of cabotage operations in the form of regular services, the model authorization and the way in which they are to be used.

(Amendment 15)

Article 8(3)

3. The Commission shall send the Member States as soon as possible summary statements drawn up on the basis of the data submitted under paragraph 1.

3. The Commission shall send the Member States and the European Parliament as soon as possible summary statements drawn up on the basis of the data submitted under paragraphs 1 and 2.

(Amendment 16)

Article 13

The Commission shall report to the Council before 31 December 1999 on the application of this Regulation and, in particular, on the impact of cabotage transport operations on national transport markets.

1. The Commission shall report to Parliament and the Council before 31 December 1996 on both the results of the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 2454/92 and on the operation of 'regular services' in the Member States.

2. The Commission shall report to the Council and Parliament before 31 December 1999 on the application of this Regulation and, in particular, on the impact of cabotage transport operations on national transport markets, and also on whether it would be appropriate to extend the scope of the Regulation. If appropriate, and on the basis of the conclusions of the report, the Commission shall submit to the Council a proposal for a Regulation.

Legislative resolution embodying Parliament's opinion on the proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) laying down the conditions under which non-resident carriers may operate national road passenger transport services within a Member State (COM(95)0729 - C4-0113/96 - 96/0002(SYN))

(Cooperation procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council, COM(95)0729 - 96/0002(SYN)[2],

- having been consulted by the Council pursuant to Articles 189c and 75 of the EC Treaty (C4-0113/96),

- having regard to Rule 58 of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy (A4-0291/96),

Approves the Commission proposal, subject to Parliament's amendments;

Calls on the Commission to amend its proposal accordingly, pursuant to Article 189a(2) of the EC Treaty;

Calls on the Council to incorporate Parliament's amendments in the common position that it adopts in accordance with Article 189c(a) of the EC Treaty;

Calls for the conciliation procedure to be opened should the Council intend to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

Asks to be consulted again should the Council intend to make substantial modifications to the Commission proposal;

Instructs its President to forward this opinion to the Council and Commission.

  • [1]  OJ C 60, 29.2.1996, p. 10
  • [2]  OJ C 60, 29.2.1996, p. 10

B EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

I. Introduction

In keeping with the judgment handed down on 22 May 1985 in Case C-1⅜3, after an action had been brought by Parliament,[1] the Court of Justice ruled that the Council had failed to bring about freedom to provide national transport services as referred to in Article 75(1)(b) of the EEC Treaty.

On 23 July 1992, to meet that obligation specifically with respect to the carriage of passengers by road by coach or bus, the Council adopted Regulation (EEC) No 2454/92 laying down the conditions under which nonresident carriers may operate national road passenger transport services within a Member State ('cabotage transport operations').[2]

Under that Regulation, the freedom to provide cabotage services by coach or bus was to be introduced in stages, depending on the type of service involved. To some extent, the Regulation reproduced the definitions of bus services set out in Regulation (EEC) No 684/92 on common rules for the international carriage of passengers by coach and bus.[3] Accordingly:

- occasional services (i.e. not regular or special services) have been liberalized since 1 January 1996. Prior to that date, liberalization applied only to 'closed-door tours' (in which the same group of passengers is transported by the same vehicle for the entire journey);

- in the case of special regular services (i.e. for given categories of passengers only), liberalization applied only to cross-border services intended for workers commuting to and from their home and place of work or school pupils or students travelling to and from their home and educational institution within a radius of 25 km from a frontier between two Member States - measured as the crow flies - and performed by carriers with a registered office or other establishment in the frontier zone;

- regular services (carrying passengers on given routes according to a given timetable) were not liberalized.

To perform cabotage transport operations on behalf of third parties, a carrier had to be entitled to transport passengers by road on international routes in accordance with the above-mentioned Regulation (EEC) No 684/92. A similar provision applied to the vehicles used for cabotage, the technical standards and specifications of which had to conform to the standards governing international carriage.

Without prejudice to Community legislation, the performance of own-account cabotage transport operations was subject to the laws, regulations, and administrative provisions in force in the Member State where the service was carried out and covering:

- rates and conditions of carriage laid down by contract;

- road vehicle weights and sizes;

- requirements relating to the carriage of school pupils, children, and the disabled;

- driving and rest time;

- VAT on transport services.

The rules in question had to be enforced in a non-discriminatory fashion.

The Commission was to have reported on the implementation of the Regulation by 31 December 1995.

Regulation (EEC) No 2454/92 has since been annulled by the Court of justice in the judgment handed down on 1 June 1994 in Case C-388/92,[4] after proceedings had been instituted by Parliament, although the Court ruled that the operative part of the Regulation should remain in force until new legislation had been issued. The Court decided to annul the Regulation because the Council substantially altered the Commission proposal, on which Parliament had delivered its opinion, when it adopted the final version of the text. In particular, the Council imposed sweeping restrictions whereby cabotage would have been confined to certain types of carriage in specified areas, thus rendering it largely meaningless. Given that it wished to make such significant changes, it ought to have consulted Parliament again. As indicated above, cabotage did not cover regular services, and, furthermore, some of the procedures and formalities laid down would have made it more difficult to exercise the freedom to provide passenger transport services.

II. Survey of the proposal

A year and seven months after the judgment of 1 June 1994 in Case C-388/92, the Commission submitted the proposal now under consideration, which is largely modelled on the annulled Regulation (EEC) No 2454/92 but widens the extent to which cabotage transport operations will be liberalized.

In the first place, the definitions of the different cabotage transport services have been brought into line with those laid down in Regulation (EEC) No 684/92 on the international carriage of passengers by road. The reference to shuttle services (Article 2) - an unknown concept in the Member States - has been deleted, and a new term added, regular international services (denoting cabotage in the course of a regular international service: a coach travelling between Luxembourg and Lisbon will be permitted to pick up or set down passengers in Spain or France).

In addition, subject to certain non-discriminatory conditions, cabotage transport operations are to be liberalized as regards special regular services (namely specific forms of carriage, i.e. of workers to and from home and work, of students to and from home and their educational establishment, and of soldiers and their families to and from their place of origin and the place where they are stationed) and occasional services (which in fact have been liberalized since 1 January 1996).

Cabotage in the form of regular services is to be permitted for the first time.

In particular, as mentioned above, provision is made for cabotage in the course of regular international services, subject to authorization by the Member State on whose territory the service is performed, which may be refused for clearly defined reasons, i.e., to a large measure, those set out in Article 4 of Regulation (EEC) No 684/92 on international carriage. The performance of other regular services, however, is subject without discrimination to laws, regulations, and administrative provisions on routes to be operated and the regularity, continuity, and frequency of services. In a word, the possibility of carrying out such services is subject to the public service rules and obligations established by the host Member State and consequently the performance of these services is entitled to the same compensation as that due to national carriers on account of those obligations.

As was stipulated in Regulation (EEC) No 2454/92, the performance of all cabotage transport operations is subject to the provisions of the host Member State governing the rates and conditions laid down in the transport contract, vehicle weights and sizes, the carriage of children and disabled people, driving and rest times, and VAT on transport services.

A carrier wishing to perform cabotage transport operations will have to apply to the host Member State, which will issue the necessary certificate conforming to a Community model (Article 6). Occasional services will be carried out on the basis of a 'control document', termed the journey form, which must likewise conform to a Community model and specify the place and date of the service. As far as special regular services are concerned, the contract concluded between the carrier and the transport organizer will be used instead of the journey form (Article 7).

Every three months Member States must communicate data to the Commission relating to cabotage transport operations in the form of special regular services or occasional services; data on regular services must be supplied once a year (Article 8).

Machinery, to be administered by a Community committee, has been set up to deal with crises ensuing when disturbance to a national transport market has been caused or aggravated by cabotage (Articles 9 and 10).

If a carrier performing cabotage transport operations has infringed Community or national transport regulations, the authorities of the host Member State may impose penalties (Article 11).

The Commission will be required to report on the implementation of the Regulation by 31 December 1999 (Article 13).

III. Proposed amendments

The rapporteur applauds this long-awaited proposal, which greatly widens the scope of cabotage transport operations.

One welcome feature is that the definitions of the various passenger transport services set out in Regulation (EEC) No 684/92, on international carriage of passengers, and those relating to cabotage are to be brought into line. The new definitions, however, must not curtail the liberalization brought about under Regulation (EEC) No 2454/92. The services for which no authorization is required under the existing rules must continue to operate on the same basis when the new definitions are applied.

The rapporteur also supports the proposed liberalization of cabotage constituting non-occasional and special regular services.

Without disregarding the need to bring this important matter to a rapid conclusion after years of waiting, he nevertheless wishes to make some changes in keeping with recent developments in the common transport policy.

First of all, he is anxious to reiterate the EP's repeated assertion that liberalization must go hand in hand with harmonization, in other words, any liberalization measure must proceed simultaneously with gradual harmonization of the social, tax, and technical conditions applying to road transport (Amendment 3).

Secondly, it would be useful to restate the fundamental principles of the common transport policy regarding a reduction in road traffic, without restricting the right of users to choose their mode of transport (Amendment 5).

Reverting to the Commission White Paper in the future development of the common transport policy (COM(92)0494), proposals should be submitted at some stage with a view to laying down rules on ownaccount cabotage operations, driverless hire of vehicles to carry passengers - as called for by Parliament on 13 July 1995 at its first reading of the proposal on the use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road[5] - and cabotage using vehicles designed to carry fewer than nine people (Amendment 7).

In addition, to protect users/passengers against possible fraud or in the event of accidents involving coaches being used for cabotage, so as to cope with any damage that might need to be made good, it would be desirable for cabotage firms to have or appoint a representative on the territory of the host Member State (Amendment 10).

As for the performance of cabotage operations, it emerges from an analysis of Articles 4 and 5 of the proposal that non-resident carriers operating on an international route would be subject to fewer and less strict authorization conditions than firms established in the Member State where the transport service is offered and, moreover, it would be more difficult for that Member State to monitor non-resident firms.

Thus we can see that compared with Regulation 2454/92, the new proposal for a regulation opens up prospects of 'reverse' discrimination in favour of non-resident carriers, to the detriment of carriers established in the host Member State.

The provisions of the new proposal lay down a very flexible authorization system (Article 4) for cabotage transport operations carried out by a non-resident carrier in the case of a regular international service, i.e. an international transport service including national links.

On the other hand, other regular services, and especially those carried out by firms established in the host Member State and serving the same national links without crossing any frontiers, would still be subject to all the legislative, regulatory and administrative provisions in force in the host Member State and which apply to all the main aspects of the transport service (Article 5(2)).

There does not seem to be any satisfactory justification for a substantial difference in rules governing purely national transport services and international services including a national cabotage link, intended for the same customers in both cases. In fact, these two categories of service will inevitably be in competition and will try to attract customers on what will be shared markets. It is therefore unacceptable that simply establishing the point of departure or arrival of a service the other side of a border should be enough to circumvent a substantial part of the legislation of the Member State which will host most of the relevant transport service.

In the current version of the proposal this unequal treatment creates several different substantial risks:

1. A risk of distortion of competition.

A transport service starting or terminating on the other side of a border and carried out by a non-resident carrier (possibly subcontracted by a resident carrier) could, under less demanding conditions (authorization system, level of frequency, etc.), compete with resident carriers providing the same cabotage link. This would lead to the risk of creaming off the top of the market by means of services carried out during rush hour in particular.

2. A risk of relocation and unfair competition.

A resident carrier might wrongfully sub-contract services to a non-resident carrier in order to evade the obligations imposed on resident carriers. It could also try to get round these obligations by setting up a branch in another Member State and entrusting it, as a non-resident carrier, with carrying out transport services under less strict conditions.

3. The risk of social dumping

There is in fact a danger that the difference in the rules governing resident and non-resident carriers, to the advantage of the latter, may encourage firms to set up business in the Member State where the conditions of employment and pay are cheapest. Since social legislation is not correctly applied in all sectors, it would be undesirable to aggravate the situation by creating another legislative loophole which may subsequently have an impact on the safety of passengers.

As far as this last point is concerned, it would also be desirable for the Commission to draw up proposals, with a view to harmonizing the requirements concerning concessions to operate transport services on the basis of public service obligations in the field of passenger cabotage by road (Amendment 13).

For all these reasons Article 4, the aim of which was to create a special system of authorization for non-resident carriers carrying out a cabotage operation in the context of an intra-Community route should be deleted (Amendment 14).

Another reason is to avoid the risk of having 15 different cabotage systems, which would be incompatible with the EU Treaty and the internal market (Amendment 2).

Thus the system of authorization and regulation applicable to regular passenger transport carried out by non-resident carriers and by firms established in the host Member State will be as similar as possible. This will obviate the risk of discrimination between transport firms based on their country of establishment (the principle set out in Amendment 8).

Similarly, regular international transport services involving cabotage transport operations on national territory will be treated, for that section, as a national regular transport operation and be subject to the same conditions for authorization and regulation as the latter (principle set out in Amendment 9). The international section of these transport operations will of course remain subject to the conditions laid down in Regulation 684/92.

Furthermore, by means of these provisions, the national legislations concerning the transport of passengers by road may be gradually harmonized, without the existing legislative differences causing unequal conditions of competition based on the nationality and Member State of establishment of transport firms (Amendment 1).

Under Article 12 of the annulled Regulation (EEC) No 2454/92, the Commission was required to submit an implementation review, and it is difficult to see why it should now wish to evade the obligation of producing one. Without going so far as to insist that the Commission will otherwise be debarred from proposing legislation, it would be useful if that report could be submitted to Parliament by 31 December 1996.

Similarly, the Commission should report to the Council and Parliament by 31 December 1999 on the outcome of implementing the new Regulation and, if necessary, provide for a further extension of its scope (Amendment 16).

The rapporteur is, finally, tabling two further amendments, the first of which relates to the definition of special regular services. The carriage mentioned, that is to say, between the place of origin and the barracks, should apply not just to soldiers, but to the security forces as a whole (Amendment 12). Secondly, the Commission should forward data on cabotage traffic not only to the Member States, but also to Parliament. The data in question should cover every type of cabotage service (Amendment 15).

25 September 1996

  • [1] [1985[ ECR Part II 1513.
  • [2] OJ L 251, 29.8.1992, p. 1.
  • [3] OJ L 74, 20.3.1992, p. 1.
  • [4] [1994[ ECR 1994-6, Part I, p. 2067
  • [5] OJ C 249, 25.9.1995, p. 139.

OPINION

(Rule 147)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on a Commission proposal for a Council regulation laying down the conditions under which non-resident carriers may operate national road passenger transport services within a Member State (COM(95)0729) - C4-0113/96; report by Mr Killilea)

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy

Draftsman: Mr Johannes Blokland

At its meetings of 21 February 1996 the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy appointed Mr Blokland draftsman.

It considered the draft opinion at its meetings of 19 March 1996, 25 April 1996 and 25 September 1996.

At the last meeting it adopted the following conclusions unanimously.

The following took part in the vote: von Wogau, chairman; Metten and Katiforis, vice-chairmen; Blokland, draftsman; Areitio Toledo, Barton (for Caudron), Billingham, de Brémond d'Ars, Carlsson, Cassidy, Christodoulou, Cox (for Watson), Donnelly, Falconer (for Moscovici), Gallagher, García Arias, GarcíaMargallo y Marfil, Garosci, Glante, Harrison, Hendrick, Herman, Imaz San Miguel, Jarzembowksi (for Friedrich), Kuckelkorn, Langen, Lindqvist, Meier (for Rapkay), Mezzaroma, Miller, Murphy, Peijs, Pérez Royo, Pomés Ruiz (for Konrad), Randzio-Plath, Read, Schlüter (for Lulling), Secchi, Sisó Cruellas (for Spindelegger), Tappin (for Rönnholm), Thyssen, Trizza and Wibe (for Ruffolo).

1. Introduction

This Commission proposal for a Council regulation may be regarded as legislation essential for the completion of the Internal Market in the field of passenger transport. In the interest of energy efficiency it is undesirable that regulations should force transport companies to cover enormous distances with empty or almost empty buses. This situation must be remedied as soon as possible.

2. Background

On 4 March 1987 the Commission submitted an earlier version of this proposal to the Council [1] aimed at applying the principle of equal treatment to the field of the common policy on passenger transport. This states that transport operators who are not resident in a particular Member State may be admitted to the market under the same conditions as those imposed by the Member State on its own transport operators. In the 1987 proposal all transport operators having the nationality of a Member State of the EU are given freedom of cabotage for regular services, shuttle services and occasional passenger road services.

On 23 July 1992 the Council adopted a regulation [2] which diverged substantially from the proposal on which Parliament had delivered its opinion in 1988. This led to proceedings being opened before the Court of Justice, and by judgment of 1 June 1994[3] the Council Regulation was declared null and void.

The European Parliament had criticized the Council Regulation on three counts:

a. the almost total exclusion of regular transport services from the scope of the regulation;

b. the postponement until 1 January 1996 of the liberalization of cabotage in non-regular transport services;

c. the formalities which transport operators would be required to comply with, the procedure for obtaining permission to operate cabotage services and the possibility of safeguard measures.

3. Commentary

This draft opinion investigates to what extent the new proposed regulation takes these criticisms into account.

(a) regular services

The proposed regulation makes a distinction between (1) purely national and (2) international regular services.

(1) Regular services within the borders of a Member State are covered only partly by the scope of the proposed new regulation. Strict conditions are imposed. Transport operators must comply with the requirements of the Member State in which the cabotage operation takes place.[4] This results in the creation of 15 different cabotage systems in the European Union. On the one hand this prevents distortions of competition, but on the other hand competition is hindered by the fact that the relevant legislation of the Member State can vary somewhat. As regards regular services at purely national level, the Commission proposal is no more than a small step in the right direction.

In view of recent serious coach accidents, it should be pointed out that specific minimum requirements are being debated at European level in the interest of increased safety.

(2) International regular services fall within the scope of the proposed regulation. This offers great advantages to transport operators. In the context of an international service it becomes possible to pick up passengers in another Member State. This enables bus companies to fill more seats, and also has positive effects on the environment.

Regulation 684/92 on international transport [5] contains a reason for rejection in that an application for authorization may be turned down if regular international services would seriously affect the viability of a rail service on the direct sections concerned. This reason for rejection is omitted from the current proposal. The small degree of competition which will arise as a consequence will probably not be serious because railway companies mostly operate in a different segment of the market from bus operators. This also explains why Member States have never yet made use of the reason for rejection in Regulation 684/92.

One point to which attention should be drawn is the possibility of using relief buses where there is an excess of supply over demand on certain parts of the route. On a correct interpretation of the regulation this does not fall within the scope of Article 3(2). The services at issue here are regular national transport services, or international regular services to which the authorization issued does not apply. It would be desirable for this to be explicitly mentioned in Article 4. An amendment to this effect is included in this draft opinion.

(b) Postponement of the liberalization of occasional cabotage transport

In line with the text of the annulled 1992 regulation, the liberalization of occasional cabotage operations has now come into effect. It is clear that the Council, although it was placed in the wrong by the Court of Justice and although the regulation it had adopted was annulled, has by dint of waiting achieved its aim after all on this point. The Commission's argument that, owing to the entry into force of the Treaty of Maastricht which introduced the cooperation procedure, it needed a long time to submit a completely new proposal, does not seem so convincing when we compare the substance of the annulled regulation with this proposal. One comes to the conclusion that the new proposal should have been submitted much sooner after the judgment of the Court of Justice annulling the old regulation.

(c) Conditions, admission procedure and safeguard measures

It is noticeable that models for the certificate referred to in Article 6 and the control document/journey form referred to in Article 7 are missing. It is possible that they diverge from those proposed by the Council in 1992[6]. It is therefore desirable that the European Parliament should be able to inspect them in advance. Your draftsman suggests that the Commission be required to publish these models before the Council takes its decision.

As regards the safeguard provisions, it should be noted that Article 9(2) gives a vague definition of 'serious disturbance'. Nor does it explain how a temporary measure of six months' to one year's duration can be a solution if there is a 'serious and potentially enduring excess of supply over demand'. A rather more precise definition is proposed in Amendment 2.

4. Other considerations

The text of the current Commission proposal is considerably more complicated than that of the original proposal of 4 March 1987. This is principally due to the exclusion of a considerable portion of regular transport services from the scope of the regulation. A number of Member States wish to keep control over their national systems for organizing and running public transport operations. There is therefore a long way to go before complete freedom of cabotage can be achieved in regular transport. In view of the fact that these wishes are reflected in the proposal, the Council should be urged to take the step proposed here within the foreseeable future.

In the interest of completing the Internal Market in this area it is desirable that the Commission evaluate the effect of this regulation within three years of its entry into force. Article 13 of the regulation provides for this to be done. The aim is to make the cabotage rules apply to all forms of coach and bus transport. In the context of this evaluation the Commission should therefore also consider whether it is desirable or possible to include the award of public transport services in the relevant directive on public service contracts.[7]

5. Conclusions

The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Commission text

Parliament's amendments

(Amendment 1)

Article 4(4) a (new)

The authorization shall not permit the operator to employ additional vehicles on segments of the route where passenger transport is provided by service operators.

(Amendment 2)

Article 9(2), first indent

- 'serious disturbance of the internal transport in a given geographical area' means the occurrence on that market of problems specific to it, such thatthere is a serious and potentially enduring excess of supply over demand, implying a threat to the financial stability and survival of a significant number of passenger transport undertakings.

- 'serious disturbance of the internal transport in a given geographical area' means the occurrence of a serious and potentially enduring excess of supply over demand, implying a threat to the exploitation and survival of a significant number of passenger transport undertakings.

(Amendment 3)

New recital after fifth recital

Whereas maintaining fifteen different systems for cabotage is incompatible with the provisions of the Treaty concerning the Internal Market;

(Amendment 4)

New recital after sixth recital

Whereas from an environmental point of view it is desirable to offer carriers the possibility, through improved rules, of optimizing the degree of capacity utilization of their vehicles;

(Amendment 5)

Article 13

The Commission shall report to the Council before 31 December 1999 on the application of this Regulation and, in particular, on the impact of cabotage transport operations on national transport markets.

1. The Commission shall report to the Council and Parliament before 31 March 1997 on the results of application of Regulation (EEC) No. 2454/92.

2. The Commission shall report to the Council and Parliament before 31 December 1999 on the application of this Regulation and, in particular, on the impact of cabotage transport operations on national transport markets, and on the desirability of extending the scope of this Regulation. If the report provides grounds for doing so, the Commission shall submit to the Council and Parliament a proposal for modifying or revising the Regulation.

  • [1] ()OJ C 77, 24 March 1987, p. 13-14.
  • [2] ()Council Regulation (EEC) 2454/92, 23 July 1992; OJ L 251, 29 August 1992, p.1-12.
  • [3] ()Case C-388/92, European Parliament v. Council of the European Union, Reports of Cases before the Court of Justice 1994, p. I-2067 to I-2090.
  • [4] ()See Article 5(2) of the proposed regulation.
  • [5] ()OJ L 74, 20 March 1992, p. 1-9, Article 7(4)(b)(ii).
  • [6] ()See OJ L 251, 29 August 1992, p. 7-12.
  • [7] ()Council Directive 92/50/EEC of 18 June 1992 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public service contracts, OJ L 209, 24 July 1992, p. 1-24.