The 'Wise Men's Report' on road transport cabotage has been eagerly awaited. It has just been made public by the European Commission following a year's work. It's principal conclusion is that constructing a single transport market implies that all national transport markets will gradually be opened up. In other words, the wise men recommend the abandonment of cabotage. This abandonment should nevertheless be progressive in order, according to the report, 'to increase the flexibility of operations and competition in national markets, whilst increasing fair competition and maintaining correct social norms'.
The practical recommendations
The group of wise men proposes a 'gradual and flexible ' opening of national markets, allied to measures to ensure the availability of labour, equitably applied regulations and the promotion of innovation, in particular:
restoring the attractiveness of the trade of road transport driver
maintaining fair competition through regular and clear checks
obliging drivers who carry out cabotage activities not connected to an international transport mission to commit themselves to the same social regulations as the local competition, in line with the principals of workers on secondment
promoting innovation in road transport.
Two types of cabotage
While the Group, of Wise men recommends a gradual liberalising of cabotage, it also proposes distinct notions allied to cabotage:
short term cabotage allied to an international transport mission
cabotage not allied to an international transport mission
In the second case, drivers would be subject to the social rules of the country in which they are working.
Final report in 2013
The Commission's final report on cabotage is expected in 2013. It is this report which will include a possible total liberalising of cabotage. “This report will greatly help our thinking”, comments EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas. “it will enable us to better understand how we can adapt our road transport policy to achieve greater growth and competitiveness, while making the sector more efficient and governmental regulations fairer and more effective”.
| 20/06/2012 | Claude Yvens