The European Parliament debated on the German regulations, which also affect Eastern-European freight transport operators. The plenary debate WAS held in Brussels on Wednesday, 25 March, in the presence of European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc.
On the same day, freight transporters from several countries such as Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania or Poland protested in front of the EP against the recent imposition by Germany of a minimum wage for freight transport employees from other Member States. Since the 1st of January this year Germany requires that all freight employees get a minimum pay of EUR 8.5 per hour, including employees of non-German companies transporting into or transiting the country. This action has stirred some resistance, especially in Eastern and Central Europe, so the regulation is not yet applied for transit freight traffic. France has also shown intention for introducing such a regulation.
In the opinion of RMDSZ MEP Csaba Sógor this case is about the differences between the factors determining the companies' competitiveness on the European Market: despite EU efforts, there still are strong disparities between Member States, in terms of economic development, wages and production costs - factors which are in the advantage of the Eastern and Central European countries - just as there are differences in terms of financial backgrounds, technological development, or access to financing, benefiting the Western European companies. The MEP believes forcing companies in other member states to artificially increase their costs and placing burdensome administrative requirements on them is not the way for making the EU a competitive player on the global market.
The Commissioner stated: national legislations should be in compliance with EU regulations; hence the European Commission will be closely examining this specific issue in the upcoming period. Violeta Bulc assured the members of the European Parliament that the legislative package scheduled for 2016 regarding road transport will include directives for working conditions and social matters in the freight industry.