The European Parliament approved today four legislative proposals that will provide more flexibility to the transport sector by temporarily removing administrative barriers and burdens.
The plenary vote under the urgency procedure took place less than 2.5 weeks after the Commission tabled the relief package, which aims to help the sector deal with administrative difficulties caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
The amended proposal to allow the air carriers keep their operating licences and ground-handling service providers to extend their contracts was adopted with 641 votes for, 29 against, and 17 abstentions. Putting passenger safety first while ensuring financial flexibility, the European Parliament proposes not to revoke air carrier licences during a period of one year, if the airline is in financial difficulties, and to extend the contracts for ground-handling services until 2021 (possible prolongation until 2022). It is now up to the Council to finalise its first reading position.
The proposal to adapt the rules for ports allowing levying port infrastructure charges was adopted with 531 votes for, 141 against, and 16 abstentions. The temporary legislation should be in force until 31 October 2020, similarly to Council position. The legal acts will enter into force after publication in the Official Journal of the EU in the coming weeks.
The amended proposal to extend the deadline to transpose EU law on rail safety and interoperability was adopted with 644 votes for, 6 against, and 38 abstentions. Given that the directive entered into force already in 2016, the transposition of this law is not directly affected by COVID-19 crisis. Hence, the Parliament proposes to extend the deadline until 31 October 2020, which offers a compromise between the original proposal and the Council position. It is now up to the Council to finalise its first reading position.
Relieving the administrative burden:
The proposal to prolong the validity of certain certificates and licences was adopted with 669 votes for, 11 against, and 8 abstentions. The rules providing temporary derogation from 15 legal acts includes similarly to Council position an opt-out clause from the relief measures, in case the competent authorities in some Member States continued issuing certificates and licences during the pandemic. The legal acts will enter into force after publication in the Official Journal of the EU in the coming weeks and will become applicable seven days later.
The legal acts can be signed swiftly once the texts from the first reading are agreed. They will enter info force after publication in the Official Journal of the EU.
The Parliament stands ready to proceed quickly with negotiations in case the Council first reading position is different.