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Procedure : 2017/2545(RSP)
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Thursday, 18 May 2017 - Strasbourg
Road transport in the European Union

European Parliament resolution of 18 May 2017 on road transport in the European Union (2017/2545(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 91 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Directive 1999/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 1999 on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures(1),

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

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing common rules concerning the conditions to be complied with to pursue the occupation of road transport operator(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 on common rules for access to the international road haulage market(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 on common rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 165/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 February 2014 on tachographs in road transport(7),

–  having regard to the Commission White Paper entitled ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’ (COM(2011)0144),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 September 2015 on the implementation of the 2011 White Paper on Transport: taking stock and the way forward towards sustainable mobility(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2017 on logistics in the EU and multimodal transport in the new TEN-T corridors(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 November 2016 on new opportunities for small transport businesses, including collaborative business models(10),

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the State of the Union Road Transport Market (COM(2014)0222),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2015/413 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences(11),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility’ (COM(2016)0501) and to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Transport and CO2’ (COM(1998)0204),

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement and its commitment to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1,5 degrees Celsius,

–  having regard to the Declaration of Amsterdam of 14 April 2016 on cooperation in the field of connected and automated driving –– Navigating to connected and automated vehicles on European roads,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2016 on social dumping in the European Union(12)

–  having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘A European strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, a milestone towards cooperative, connected and automated mobility’ (COM(2016)0766),

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the Commission should put forward, as a matter of urgency, legislative proposals concerning the road haulage market (hereinafter ‘road initiatives’), with the aim of identifying and addressing the challenges that the sector is facing;

B.  whereas the road transport economy in the EU accounts for 5 million direct jobs and contributes close to 2 % of the EU’s GDP, with 344 000 road passenger transport companies and over 560 000 road freight transport companies(13);

C.  whereas, in 2013, passenger transport activities by road in the EU amounted to 5 323 billion passenger kilometres, of which passenger cars accounted for 72,3 % and buses and coaches for 8,1 % of the total passenger transport activities in the EU-28(14);

D.  whereas road safety remains a topical issue for the EU, with 135 000 seriously injured victims and 26 100 fatalities in 2015;

E.  whereas road transport is a driving force of the EU’s economy and should remain a frontrunner in generating further economic growth and job creation, and in promoting competitiveness and territorial cohesion, and whereas it is necessary, at the same time, that the sector becomes more sustainable and respects decent working conditions and social rights;

F.  whereas road transport is a sector where Europe is a world leader, in both manufacturing and transport operations, and whereas it is crucial that European road transport continues to develop, invest and renew itself in a sustainable and ecological manner, in order to maintain its technological leadership at global level within a global economy ever more characterised by the emergence of powerful new players and new business models;

G.  whereas road transport is continuing to phase out fossil fuels, given the urgent need to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of this sector in particular via alternative fuels, alternative powertrains and digitalisation, in a cost-efficient manner without sacrificing its competitiveness;

H.  whereas transport plays a significant role in climate change, accounting for some 23,2 % of total EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and whereas road transport accounted for 72,8 % of the EU’s GHG emissions from transport in 2014;

I.  whereas road congestion is estimated to cost the EU’s economy the equivalent of 1 % of its GDP in time losses, additional fuel consumption and pollution;

J.  whereas international road haulage transport is facing an increasing number of regulatory barriers established by Member States;

K.  whereas multimodal networks and the integration of different transport modes and services are potentially beneficial for improving passenger and freight transport connections and efficiency, thus helping to reduce carbon and other harmful emissions;

L.  whereas there is a lack of enforcement by Member States of EU legislation on cabotage;

M.  whereas there are huge differences across the Union in the enforcement of existing legislation on working conditions, social rights and road safety;

Improving competitiveness and innovation in the road sector

1.  Considers that the road initiatives should provide a much-needed boost for a more sustainable, safe, innovative and competitive European road sector, further develop European road infrastructure to improve the efficiency of road transport and logistics, ensure a level playing field for operators in the global market as well as the completion and improved operation of the internal market for the transport by road of passengers and freight, and set out a long-term strategy for Europe’s road sector;

2.  Considers also that the road initiatives should foster technological development of vehicles, promote alternative fuels, increase interoperability of transport systems and modes and ensure access to the market for transport SMEs;

3.  Calls on the Commission to take into account Parliament’s resolution of 9 September 2015 on the implementation of the 2011 White Paper on Transport when drafting the road initiatives; underlines that road transport must be considered within a holistic and long-term approach under the EU intermodal and sustainable transport policy;

4.  Calls on the Commission, when drafting the ‘Road Mobility Initiative Package’, to equally take into account Parliament’s resolution of 14 September 2016 on social dumping in the European Union;

5.  Emphasises that the road sector is a major contributor to EU jobs and growth and that the state of the economy is closely linked to competitiveness in the EU road sector; asks therefore for proactive policies aimed at supporting and developing a sustainable road sector with fair competition, especially for SMEs, notably in view of the future digital, technological and environmental developments in this sector, while encouraging the upskilling of the workforce;

6.  Invites the European road sector to embrace the opportunities afforded by digitalisation; calls on the Commission to develop communications infrastructure both ‘vehicle to vehicle’ and ‘vehicle to infrastructure’ to improve road safety, efficiency and to prepare the future of road mobility; underlines the need to develop technology transfer for vehicles, to increase their logistical support and to draw up the appropriate definitions and rules on this matter; calls on the Commission to provide for a suitable regulatory framework for connected and automated driving as well as for new collaborative business models;

7.  Urges the Commission to increase harmonisation in passenger transport and transport of goods, and in particular for electronic tolling systems in the EU, as the current lack of harmonisation imposes additional costs on transport; encourages, in this regard, the use of digital technologies (paperless and standardised documents, e-CMR smart tachograph, etc.) in order to guarantee a fully functioning internal market;

Facilitating cross-border mobility on road

8.  Urges the Member States to implement relevant EU rules more thoroughly and the Commission to monitor such implementation more closely, including with regard to cross-border cooperation, interpretation and proper and non-discriminatory enforcement of the existing legislation, and to tackle harmonisation of national legislations; believes that, wherever legitimate, the Commission should open infringement procedures against laws and measures distorting the market;

9.  Urges the Member States to cooperate more closely with the Euro Contrôle Route and the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL) in order to improve the enforcement of road transport legislation in Europe and to build up a strong mechanism to ensure equal and appropriate implementation of the existing acquis, i.e. by supporting Member States with certification, standardisation, technical expertise, data collection, training and inspection tasks and by managing platforms for information exchange between national experts and authorities;

10.  Asks the Member States to step up checks, particularly in relation to compliance with driving and rest times and cabotage rules, and to use effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions; urges the Commission to speed up the mandatory use of digital devices on board such as smart tachographs and the use of electronic consignment notes (e-CMR) to improve the monitoring of compliance with relevant EU rules, while reducing administrative costs;

11.  Urges the Commission to further harmonise existing rules for mandatory safety equipment in light and heavy duty vehicles such as warning triangles, reflective jackets, spare lamps or breathalysers;

12.  Calls on the Commission to examine possibilities to reduce the bureaucratic and financial burdens of different national legislations in order to facilitate the freedom to provide transport services across the EU;

13.  Stresses that a coherent, fair, transparent, non-discriminating and non-bureaucratic road charging system implemented in the EU and proportionate to the use of the road and to the external costs generated by lorries, buses and cars (the ‘user pays’ and ‘polluter pays’ principles), would have a positive effect in tackling the deteriorating state of the road infrastructure, congestion and pollution; calls on the Commission to create a framework which will ensure non-discrimination and avoid fragmented charging schemes for passengers’ cars across the EU;

14.  Calls on the Commission to propose a revision of the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) Directive, which should include an external cost element based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle, be fully interoperable with the aim of contributing to the emergence of harmonised technical EU standards of collecting tolls, be based on transparency, better development and integration of the different ITS equipment installed in the vehicles as well as greater clarification of the legislation in order to better define and protect the rights of EETS providers and make their obligations less burdensome;

15.  Considers that Member States on the periphery and countries with no real alternative to road transport have more difficulties in reaching the core of the EU’s internal market; calls on the Commission to include in its road initiatives a mechanism to alleviate the charges supported by road transport operations from the periphery;

16.  Underlines that hired vehicles are usually the newest and cleanest on the market, contributing to the efficiency of the road transport sector; calls therefore on the Commission to review the current rules on hired vehicles, which currently allow the Member States to prohibit the use of such vehicles for international transport operations;

17.  Is concerned about the lack of enforcement by national authorities in relation to fraud concerning tachographs and cabotage operations, and calls therefore on the Commission to address these problems inter alia through the use of new technologies, simplification and clarification of the cabotage provisions and improved exchange of information between authorities with a view to better enforcement of the rules across the EU and better monitoring of the cabotage operations;

18.  Takes the view that legislative requirements should be proportionate to the nature of the business and the size of the company; raises, however, concerns about whether there continue to be grounds for exempting light commercial vehicles (LCVs) from application of a number of European rules, given the increasing use of LCVs in the international transport of goods, and asks the Commission to present a diagnostic report on the consequent economic, environmental and safety impact of this increasing use;

19.  Stresses that cross-border mobility on roads concerning the neighbouring accession countries should be facilitated by better harmonisation of standards on road infrastructure, signalling and electronic systems, thus ensuring the elimination of bottlenecks, especially on the TEN-T core network;

Improving social conditions and safety rules

20.  Underlines that the freedom to provide transport services across the EU should not justify any violation of the fundamental rights of workers or weaken the existing legislation regarding working conditions, such as rest periods, working patterns, periods away from the home base, access to skills, improvement training and career development, health and safety, care and social assistance, and minimum rates of pay;

21.  Considers it of the utmost importance to remind the Commission of its own commitments made in the proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights, in particular as regards:

   secure and adaptable employment, principle 5d: ‘Employment relationships that lead to precarious working conditions shall be prevented, including by prohibiting abuse of atypical contracts. Any probation period should be of reasonable duration’;
   fair wages, principle 6a: ‘Workers have the right to fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living’;

recalls that any initiative made by the Commission as regards road transport must not go against this principle nor endanger workers’ rights in this sector;

22.  Is concerned about socially problematic business practices that also present a risk in terms of road safety, related mainly to cabotage rules and to the so-called ‘letterbox’ companies (in particular issues concerning disguised self-employment and deliberately abusive practices or circumvention of existing European and national legislation enabling the development of unfair competition by unlawfully minimising labour and operation costs and leading to the violation of workers’ rights, which arise as a consequence of a lack of clarity of European rules and varying interpretations and enforcement practices at national level);

23.  Calls on the Commission to review the requirements on the right of establishment in order to eradicate ‘letterbox’ companies in the road transport sector;

24.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, as a matter of urgency, to address issues relating to driver fatigue, including ensuring that any investment in road infrastructure includes improving facilities for drivers, especially long-haul drivers and that legislation on rest breaks is fully respected;

25.  Calls on the Commission to clarify the rules on cabotage and the rules governing access to road transport occupation, and to improve their implementation, in order to effectively tackle fraud and abuse;

26.  Rejects any further liberalisation of cabotage, in particular unlimited cabotage operations within a certain number of days;

27.  Calls on the Commission to clarify the application of the provisions of the Posting of Workers Directive in the road transport sector and to improve their implementation and enforcement;

28.  Stresses that Europe is facing a shortage of professional drivers resulting from the increase in demand for transport services, the fast development of international trade and the demographic situation; calls, therefore, on the Commission to facilitate the access of young men and women to the profession and to address the problem of poor working conditions for drivers as well as the lack of quality roadside infrastructure;

29.  Highlights that the different national legislations regarding social conditions and rights in the road transport sector in the Union generate considerable and disproportionate administrative barriers for the operators, especially SMEs, increase the complexity of the legal framework and undermine the establishment of an internal market in the road transport sector in the Union and lead to obstacles to the free movement of services and goods;

30.  Calls on the Commission to draw up proposals for the upcoming road initiatives which allow for a more effective distinction between the freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment, with the aim of ensuring that business activities are of a temporary nature in a Member State in which a company is not established and to ensure that employees fall under the legislation of the country in which they have their habitual working place or carry out most of their professional activity;

31.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to address the quality of work in the road transport sector, with respect in particular to training, certification, working conditions and career development, with a view to creating quality jobs, developing the necessary skills and strengthening the competitiveness of EU road transport operators in order to make it more attractive for young people while also focusing on ensuring proper work-life balance for drivers;

32.  Calls on the Commission to revise the Combined Transport Directive 92/106/EEC with a view to increasing multimodal transport and eliminating unfair practices and ensuring compliance with the social legislation relating to combined transport;

33.  Calls on the Commission to assess the creation of an ‘electronic and integrated operator file’ for all operators operating under the Community licence, with the aim of gathering all relevant carrier, vehicle and driver data collected during roadside checks;

34.  Underlines that the system of rest facilities in the EU is insufficient and inadequate; calls, therefore, on the Member States in consultation with the Commission to set up a plan for constructing/providing capacity and user-friendly, safe and secure rest areas with a sufficient number of parking spaces, sanitary facilities and transit hotels, especially in strategic points/hubs where high volumes of traffic may be observed;

35.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to address the current issues of impracticality relating to driving and rest times, i.e. situations in which drivers are forced to rest for a number of hours even though they are only a few kilometres away from either their home base or residence place are common; calls on the Commission to take this into account when revising Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport;

36.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt an EU-wide target for reducing serious road injuries;

37.  Calls on the Commission to run an EU-wide scientific study on the effects of driver fatigue in bus and coach transport and freight transport by van as well as by truck;

38.  Calls on the Commission to initiate without delay the revision of General Safety Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 and to take into account the role of new technologies and standards, including emergency data recorders, direct vision standards, intelligent seed assistance and tyre pressure monitoring at the very least;

39.  Stresses the need to improve safety on EU roads and to achieve the objective of halving the number of deaths and serious injuries by 2020; supports the impact assessment employed by the Commission in a review of the legislative framework for road infrastructure safety management;

Promoting low-emission road transport

40.  States that there is a need to improve the resource efficiency of road transport and its role in a modern synchromodal transport network, with a view to a more efficient use of existing capacities, improving the occupancy rate of vehicles, promoting the use of smaller and lighter vehicles, passenger car-sharing and car-pooling, as well as reducing from four wheels to two; considers digitalisation as a key element for reaching the goal of improved resource efficiency;

41.  Stresses that in order to comply with the objectives of the Paris Agreement of 2015 (COP21) on climate change, the decarbonisation of the transport sector and improvement in air quality should be achieved through the promotion of electro-mobility, fuel cells and other advanced propulsion systems, in particular those in which Europe has a major technological advantage;

42.  Calls on the Commission to come up with ambitious proposals for CO2 standards for trucks and buses in order to reduce GHG emissions from the road sector; asks the Commission to further study the opportunities to accelerate the shift towards low-emission transport by introducing the incentive for retrofitting;

43.  Calls for concrete measures to ensure the implementation of the ‘user pays’ and ‘polluter pays’ principles in road transport, including guidelines and best practices, and for a fair level playing field to be ensured across all EU regions;

44.  Underlines that the revision of the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) Directive could contribute to the promotion of cleaner vehicles and shared vehicles;

45.  Stresses the great importance of an appropriate infrastructure for the use of alternative fuels in road transport, and therefore calls on the Commission and the Member States to create incentive models to complete the supply network for alternative fuels;

46.  Calls for effective national policy frameworks to stimulate the wider uptake of vehicles using alternative fuels (e.g. electricity, hybrid, hydrogen, compressed natural gas), and calls for the rapid deployment of the necessary refuelling/recharging infrastructure;

47.  Recognises that innovative and low-emission road transport vehicles and infrastructure will assist in facilitating interchanges and links between roads, rail and ports, thereby encouraging an overall shift to more environmentally friendly forms of transport for individuals, passengers and freight;

48.  Believes that car-pooling and car-sharing constitute a major resource for the sustainable development of connections, inter alia in outermost, mountainous and rural regions; calls on the Commission, the Member States and local authorities to facilitate the emergence of collaborative business models in this field;

49.  Asks the Commission to look into the introduction in several Member States of low-emission zones, and to examine the possibility of setting common criteria/rules for the introduction/functioning of these zones;

50.  Notes that intelligent transport systems (ITS) such as cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) and innovations such as e-highway (electrified trucks with trolley technology) and platooning could play an important role in enhancing the efficiency, safety and environmental performance of transport system; calls therefore on the Commission to stimulate the development and use of ITS and promote innovations;

51.  Notes that levels of empty running remain high in road transport activities, which has a negative impact on the environment; recalls that, in 2012, almost a quarter (23,2 %) of all vehicle-km of heavy goods vehicles in the EU involved an empty vehicle, and that the high level of empty running is caused by the current restrictions on cabotage operations that are limiting hauliers in further increasing the cargo loads and hence their environmental effectiveness; stresses, therefore, the positive impact of market opening on the environmental efficiency of road transport;

52.  Urges the Commission and the Member States, with a view to decarbonising the road transport sector, to speed up the transition away from traditional fossil-fuel-powered road vehicles to sustainable electric-powered vehicles, such as those using hydrogen fuel cells;

53.  Encourages the Commission to update its manual on external costs from transport, including new data on real driving emissions as well as economic and social damage from climate change;

54.  Highlights the fact that the goals set for making the transition to alternative and renewable energies for road transport should be achieved using an energy mix and existing methods for saving energy; points out that this transition requires corresponding incentives and that the reduction goals should be formulated in a technology-neutral manner;

55.  Notes that alternative fuels, including, but not limited to, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas and second generation biofuels can be used to facilitate the transition;

o   o

56.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 187, 20.7.1999, p. 42.
(2) OJ L 80, 23.3.2002, p. 35.
(3) OJ L 102, 11.4.2006, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 300, 14.11.2009, p. 51.
(5) OJ L 300, 14.11.2009, p. 72.
(6) OJ L 300, 14.11.2009, p. 88.
(7) OJ L 60, 28.2.2014, p. 1.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0310.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0009.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0455.
(11) OJ L 68, 13.3.2015, p. 9.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0346.
(13) Source: EU Transport in Figures 2016, based on Eurostat.
(14) Source: EU Transport in Figures 2016, based on Eurostat.

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