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Open roads across Europe

Directorate-General for Energy and Transport


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Foreword Context
Road transport a vital component Reviewing needs A level playing-field

Open markets, open highways

Responsible operators sought Driver attestation

For safety's sake

New rules for driving licences Improving training standards Making trucks safer Transporting dangerous goods Time to belt-up


Fair charging across the EU

Vehicle tax and fuel duties Taking their toll: Infrastructure charges


International connections
Easing the Alpine crossing From Russia with goods Interbus making passenger travel easier

The European Commissions Directorate-General for Energy and Transport develops and carries out EU policy in these closely linked areas. The mid-term review of the 2001 White Paper, Keep Europe moving Sustainable mobility for our continent sets out a work programme designed to bring about significant further improvements in the quality and efficiency of transport in Europe by 2010. Improving the conditions in which road transport services can be operated throughout Europe is an essential condition for the smooth functioning of Europes economy, and a vital contribution to improving the health and quality of life of all Europeans. Published by: European Commission, Energy and Transport DG, B-1049 Brussels http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/energy_transport/index_en.html Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2006. European Communities, 2006 Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. Manuscript completed on 15 November 2006. Photos courtesy of: DaimlerChrysler AG, European Community 2006, Hugh Jenkins, MAN Group, Renault Trucks, Scania CV AB, Seimans, Volvo ISBN 92-79-03148-1 Printed in Belgium

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hroughout history, the transport of passengers and freight has been an integral part of our daily lives, a motor of economic development and an important component of our own well-being. Not surprisingly, transport policy was enshrined as one of the first Community policies in the 1957 Treaty of Rome the founding Act of todays European Union. Since completion of the internal market in 1992, road transport in Europe has substantially changed: rigid national concession regimes have been abolished, the intra-EU transport market has been opened up to free competition and even temporary services by hauliers in countries other than their own have become possible.

Existing regulations in the road transport sector, as with European legislation in general, aim to provide a single, harmonised regulatory framework instead of 25 different and potentially conflicting ones. Road freight and passenger markets are opened up: any company anywhere in the EU that meets EU professional requirements may set up business in any Member State. Similarly, a single Community licence has been created and accompanying documents have been harmonised to ensure that borders or national administrative practices do not act as barriers to the growing prosperity generated by the road transport sector. This is a classic tale of how creating a single European market has spurred competition and created one of the most dynamic and efficient sectors of the economy.

This brochure provides details of the EU regulatory framework for the road transport sector. Each section outlines not only what has happened, but also the way ahead. Despite the gains to the sector thanks to European integration, more remains to be done to ensure we have a legal framework that is clear, easily enforceable and without unnecessary administrative burdens, so that road transport can continue to be an engine of economic growth in Europe.

Jacques Barrot Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Transport


oad transport has a central role to play in the continued health and growth of Europes economy. Europeans expect goods to be delivered door-to-door to all corners of the continent, quickly and on time. Often road transport is the only answer to the demand for such high levels of mobility and flexibility a situation that will remain despite increasing investment in other modes. The transport of goods between Member States is set to increase by 50 % between 2000 and 2020. Road transport which already conveys 73 % of goods on land will undoubtedly take the lions share of that expansion.

The road transport sector itself already contributes hugely to the European economy: it provides about 4.5 million jobs and generates a turnover worth about 1.6 % of EU gross domestic product. And without an efficient, vibrant road transport system, other modes cannot function properly as most freight and passenger journeys begin and end with a trip on the road. Road transport therefore also plays a vital role in the development of Europes integrated transport networks and intermodal transport solutions. The European Union is committed to providing the best conditions for an open market for professional road transport services by which we mean journeys by lorries and coaches to ensure mobility of goods and people, and to enable job creation and economic growth. The challenge is to make all of this possible while helping the sector to become more efficient, safer and cost-effective.

Modal split of freight transport in the EU-25 (2005 figures, based on tonne-kilometres performed)
Air 0.1%

Modal split of passenger transport in the EU-25 (2004 figures, based on passenger-kilometres performed)
Air 8.0% Sea 0.8%

Sea 39.3% Road 44.4%

Tram and metro 1.2% Railway 5.8% Bus and coach 8.2% Motorcycles 2.4%

Pipelines 3.2% Inland waterways 3.3%

Passenger cars 73.6% Rail 9.7% Source: Eurostat, ECMT, UIC, European Commission and national figures

Source: Eurostat, ECMT and national figures

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Reviewing needs
The mid-term review of the European Commissions 2001 Transport White Paper Keep Europe moving Sustainable mobility for our continent(1), sets out ways to provide Europeans with effective transport systems that ensure the free movement of people and goods as a means of guaranteeing social and economic cohesion. This will require further development of the internal market for road transport services. The Commission is therefore developing strategies on market access that are simple, clear and easy to enforce. The EU is also committed to reducing congestion on roads over the coming years, particularly on trans-European networks again the aim is to improve the flow of goods and people. The review also underlines the need to protect transport users and improve their safety and security, as well as the working conditions of all Europes professional drivers. The Commission is also keen to promote innovation to ensure the sustainable competitiveness of all transport modes this will include using technology to improve logistical efficiency relating to Europes huge fleet of trucks and lorries. Figures show that even in the flexible world of road haulage, 25 % of journeys are still running empty.

A level playing-field
The Unions internal market for road transport has like other aspects of European life undergone a massive change in the past few years. Member States are benefiting greatly from the worlds largest free market, and road transport is helping to promote the economic cohesion of the EU. The EU is committed to high common standards in social rules for road haulage, which include revised regulations for driver working time, driving hours and rest periods and increased checks on lorries (for specific details see pp. 68). This new legislation, adopted in 2006, should prevent unfair competition in the road transport industry, and reinforce safety standards throughout Europe.

Growth in road freight transport in the EU-25 (billion tonne-kilometres)

2 000

1 500

1 000












(1) Keep Europe moving Sustainable mobility for our continent, COM(2006) 314, adopted 22 June 2006.

Source: Eurostat, ECMT and national figures


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he Commission is committed to nurturing an open market in road transport, as a means of bolstering the EUs internal market for all goods and services. And as the EU focuses ever more strongly on the economy and job creation as laid down in the Lisbon strategy it is ever more vital that road transport oils the wheels of growth.

Responsible operators sought

The EU liberalised the transport market for both goods and passenger carriage in 1998. In reality, that means freight or passenger transport operators based in the Union can supply international transport services between any Member State provided that they are a recognised operator and hold a Community licence. To be recognised as a bona fide operator, three key criteria must be met: Good repute professional operators are expected to comply with rules and regulations, those who do not must be weeded out. Sound financial standing hauliers and passenger transport operators must be able to guarantee the viability of their businesses.

Of course, ensuring that the market functions efficiently in a non-discriminatory way requires huge effort on behalf of the Union and Member States, in terms of harmonising rules and regulations on a range of issues that relate to road transport, in particular ensuring that road transport operators receive fair and equitable access to the worlds largest single market.

Employment in freight and passenger transport on roads in the EU-25 (2004 or latest figures)
350 000
Road freight transport sector Road passenger transport sector

300 000

250 000
Number of jobs

200 000

150 000

100 000

50 000










Source: Eurostat

















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Professional competence to ensure that customers receive safe, reliable transport services, operators have to show a level of competence in the way they run their businesses and check their vehicles. In practice, this has led to the harmonising of professional competence certification throughout the EU. Now operators must hold a Community certificate of professional competence. The next step for EU transport operators is to obtain a Community licence from their home Member State. The licence allows them to carry out international transport operations throughout the Union, and must be renewed every five years. Operators must carry a certified copy of this document in each of their vehicles. It shows that they comply with the national traffic requirements of their country in accordance with the relevant EU regulations. These good operator requirements exist to prevent unscrupulous companies gaining custom by taking short-cuts on safety. And by helping to harmonise financial standards and levels of competence, they also improve the professional status of the road transport industry.

Cabotage a free market essential

Essentially, cabotage means the transportation of goods within one country by a haulier from another country. In the EU, cabotage is allowed on a temporary basis. This means, for example, that a French transport company discharging a cargo from Paris in Seville can instead of driving empty to Barcelona to pick up a load to be carried back to France transport goods between Seville and Barcelona. At the moment, cabotage makes up about 1.2 % of the road transport market, but optimising the use of capacity is important for reducing environmental damage. The new Member States will, after a transitional period, enjoy the right to carry out cabotage services. There were worries in the sector about the possible adverse effects of running cabotage services. These centred on potentially unfair competition from lower-wage countries which could undercut operators who have to bear the greater costs of working in a more tightly regulated environment. However, cabotage does not appear to have undermined national markets or operators of good repute. What is more, the recent legislation relating to driver times, rest periods and checks will help bring the application of social conditions into line in all Member States, and will further reduce the chances of transport companies being unfairly undercut.

Driver attestation
Every driver from a non-EU country who drives an EU operators vehicle while carrying out cross-border haulage activities within the Union must carry the correct driver attestation. This certifies that the driver is legally employed by the operator who owns the vehicle, and that she/he meets all the professional conditions required by that operators Member State.

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n 2005, nearly 41 000 people lost their lives in road accidents across the EU, and many thousands more were injured. Making Europes highways as safe as possible is therefore a key Union priority.

Crucially, in terms of liability, the drivers employers are now responsible for obeying the new rules. This legislation complements the EUs special working time directive for professional drivers. Member States are required by EU law to enforce social legislation and safety requirements related to road transport. This includes carrying out regular checks, both at the roadside and at company premises. The new legislation will triple the number of checks and improve the way information on violations is exchanged between Member States.

New legislation, agreed in 2006 by the European Parliament and Council, will improve driving conditions for hard-pressed lorry and bus drivers, and increase the number of checks on European trucks and coaches. In relation to driver working conditions, the key points of the new package include: an obligatory minimum daily rest of nine hours for drivers, up from the previous eight hours, and obligatory breaks during driving time; a rest period of at least 45 consecutive hours every two weeks; measures to prevent professional drivers from driving more than 56 hours a week.

Security and openness finding the balance

Terrorist attacks in Madrid and London have shown how vulnerable public transport infrastructure is to attack. And the Commission is also looking at ways to tighten the security of intermodal and goods transport. This could include developing a single security certification system for the logistics chain across Europe.

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New rules for driving licences

The EU agreed new rules for driving licences in March 2006, which will impact on professional drivers as well as regular motorists. The changes will harmonise licence validity periods for all drivers and medical rules for professional drivers, and reduce fraud by ensuring all drivers have a licence based on a single model. This will replace the 110 different types of licence currently valid across the different Member States. Mandatory, regular renewal periods will be introduced truck and bus drivers will now have to renew their licences every five years. Furthermore, professional drivers will have to undergo medical checks each time their licences are renewed. The changes will also strengthen rules concerning progressive driver access to more and more powerful lorries. New categories relating to the technical makeup of smaller trucks and buses are being introduced. Also, licences for buses will be amended to refer to the number of passengers a driver can carry, rather than to the number of seats in their vehicle.

Improving training standards

In 2003, the EU adopted a new directive to improve professional driver training standards. Previously there was no obligation for most drivers to undergo vocational training essentially experience gained on the job could see a driver move on to larger and larger vehicles. The Commission recognised this was an inadequate way to ensure that drivers had the requisite up-todate skills and knowledge. The 2003 legislation offers drivers the choice of carrying out a compulsory minimum level of training, or a more extensive full basic training package. Drivers can expect to learn about safety rules, compliance with legislation, and related issues such as health and safety, servicing and logistics. Full basic training lasts 280 hours, carried out over eight weeks of 35 hours each; while compulsory minimum training is 140 hours. Drivers must also undertake a brief refresher course at five-year intervals.

Secure parking areas

Lorry drivers need to stop when making international trips to comply with EU rules on driving times and rest periods. However, throughout Europe there are complaints about a lack of secure parking facilities which means that drivers, vehicles and cargo are vulnerable to thieves and worse. In February 2006, the Commission launched a study to explore the feasibility of secure parking areas. Its review assessed current levels of security and found out what is needed to make parking areas safer for drivers.The Commission also provided support to the construction of model parking areas.

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Making trucks safer

Any heavy goods vehicle driver will tell you that large lorries have a blind spot when they turn right (or left if the vehicle is right-hand drive). The Commission estimates the problem causes about 500 fatalities a year on Europes roads, and is a particular risk to cyclists. In 2003, the EU agreed a directive that requires rearview mirrors to be upgraded to reduce this blind spot. Accordingly, new lorries weighing more than 3.5 tonnes have to be equipped with blind-spot mirrors from 2007. The debate on the practicalities of retrofitting these mirrors to Europes existing five million heavy goods vehicles has shown that there is a strong case in favour, and the Commission has therefore come forward with a new proposal to that effect.

Transporting dangerous goods

Moving dangerous goods, such as chemicals and petrol, is governed by EU law which applies the rules laid down in the ADR convention to all transport in the EU. EU law provides rules on the transport of dangerous goods, including the movement of transportable pressure equipment; and uniform procedures for checking the transport of dangerous goods. Laws also cover the appointment and training of safety advisers, and ensure that vehicles meet certain technical requirements to transport dangerous goods in as safe a way as possible.

The move to digital tachographs

Every lorry, bus and coach on EU roads must be fitted with a tachograph to record information on their journeys. Tachographs used to be analogue, and data concerning driving times, rest periods, loading times and mechanical work was printed out on paper disks. However, recent technological advances have seen the introduction of digital tachographs, which are capable of recording more data including speed, distance covered and driver identification with much greater accuracy. They are also much more secure against tampering than their analogue predecessors. The EU has reacted to this technological advance by making digital tachographs compulsory in new heavy goods vehicles and buses from 1 May 2006. Interoperability certification will ensure that tachograph equipment will always work with products made by different manufacturers.

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Time to belt-up
Since 9 May 2006, it has been compulsory throughout the EU for coach and bus passengers aged three and over to wear seat belts where they are fitted. The operator must tell their passengers about these new requirements, and seat belts must be worn whenever people are seated and the vehicle is moving. This EU law complements earlier legislation that requires coaches, larger mini-buses and non-urban buses to be fitted with seat belts. All such vehicles registered after 1 October 2001 must have restraints fitted.

The Road Safety Charter

Europes transport associations and companies are signing up to the European road safety charter. The aim is to encourage stakeholders to take whatever steps are necessary to help improve road safety in Europe in particular to achieve the goal of halving the number of traffic fatalities by 2010. The Charter also acts as a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practice. For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/roadsafety/charter/ index_en.htm

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he EU is committed to developing a comprehensive approach to road transport taxes and charges. This is still a challenge because rates for use of infrastructure, annual road tax and fuel duties vary across the Union. Differences in these costs distort competition in Europes road haulage sector, which runs counter to the Unions aim of creating an open market that is fair and transparent.

Vehicle tax and fuel duties

The EU has developed common rules on annual taxes for heavy goods vehicles over 12 tonnes. They provide for a minimum rate for this type of tax, which goes some way to reducing the differences that exist between Member States. In the European Union, all fuels are subjected to a minimum rate of excise duty. In terms of diesel by far the most widely used fuel in the road haulage sector that works out at a minimum rate of EUR 302 per 1 000 litres of fuel. The aim is to reduce the differences that exist in Member States excise duty charges, though rates do still differ greatly across the Union.

Taking their toll: Infrastructure charges An electronic toll system no more fumbling for change
One major irritation for all drivers is having to queue at toll booths to pay charges. The problem is made worse on international routes as drivers of different nationalities figure out what they have to pay, sometimes in a currency they do not know well. Such conditions hold up journeys and cause congestion on busy routes, especially at peak times. To solve this problem, the EU has introduced legislation that paves the way for a fully interoperable electronic toll payment system. By harnessing recent advances in satellite tracking technology, mobile positioning and electronic payment systems, it is now possible to equip vehicles with systems that record journeys through toll booths. The driver therefore does not have to stop and can receive a single bill at the end of their journey. The EU has laid down rules for the introduction of electronic toll systems that must use interoperable technologies from 1 January 2007. In time, this will build into a network of interoperable toll booths, which, when paired with the on-board recording units, will make it much easier to travel via Europes fee-charging motorways, bridges and tunnels. Another cost factor facing commercial road transport operators is the cost of using infrastructure such as motorways and bridges, levied in the form of tolls and user charges. The Eurovignette directive, adopted in 1999 and subsequently modified in 2006, establishes common rules relating to distance-based tolls and time-based user charges for goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. The aim of the legislation is to improve the way the internal market operates by reducing differences in tolls and charges across the EU. Key points of the directive include the following: Tolls should only correspond to distance travelled and type of vehicle; and user charges should relate to the time spent using the infrastructure. Tolls and user charges may vary according to congestion and vehicle emission class. Tolls and charges can be levied for the use of roads that are part of the trans-European network (TEN) or under certain circumstances parallel roads. As a general rule, distance-based tolls and timerelated charges shall not be applied on the same stretch of road. National tolls and charges should be non-discriminatory, and should be easy for the motorist to understand, so as to avoid unnecessary hold-ups and problems at toll booths. Mandatory checks at the EUs internal borders should also be avoided.

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oad transport between the EU and non-EU countries (third countries) is still largely based on bilateral arrangements between EU Member States and the third countries. Nevertheless, the EU has reached agreements with a number of non-Member States on road transport issues that take precedence over those bilateral arrangements. For example, the agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) provides that Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein apply the Unions road transport rules in the same fashion as the Member States. Similarly, on the basis of the agreement between the EU and Switzerland on transport of goods and passengers by road and rail, Switzerland applies equivalent rules as the EU and the EEA countries in the field of land transport.

in both directions, as the map below highlights. This puts a strain on both the infrastructure and the fragile Alpine ecosystem. All the countries which make up the Alpine region, together with the European Community, are party to the Alpine Convention, which aims to safeguard the Alpine ecosystem and promote sustainable development within the region. In particular, the transport protocol to the Convention encourages the parties to invest in new, more environmentally friendly transport infrastructure, notably new tunnels. In this way, transalpine freight traffic can be transferred to rail and even short-sea shipping, reducing the environmental burden on the fragile, high-altitude ecosystem. Furthermore, the EU has introduced and is further developing a harmonised charging system for road freight journeys, following the polluter pays principle, whereby journeys are charged according to the environmental damage they cause. Under the EU/ Switzerland land transport agreement, similar rules are applied for truck journeys across the whole Alpine range. This ensures that traffic is spread more evenly over all the crossings on the mountain range, reducing congestion and mitigating environmental damage.

Easing the Alpine crossing

Some of the EUs most important international road transport flows go over the Alps, not only through EU members France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Slovenia but also through Switzerland. The limited numbers of transit routes through the Alps (roads, tunnels and mountain passes) carry large amounts of freight traffic

Number of trucks on main Alpine crossing points in 2005

35) (12 ass erp ob Sch

Sem me ring

San Bern ardin o (150 )

r (1988 Brenne

(59 0)

93 Tauern (9

Wech s

hard Gott ) (925
Sim on pl

el (95 6)

Gr. St-B



5) (6

Mt-C enis /Frju s

Montgenvre (36)

M t-B on

(107 3)


a( igli ntim

) (63 ard ern 6) 32


( nc la

Milano Torino

4 118

pass / tunnel
Number of trucks in 2005 (x1 000)





10 11

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From Russia with goods

The EUs borders have spread east in recent years thanks to the enlargement process, and trade with Russia has grown greatly since the fall of the Soviet Union. It should also be noted that 50 % of EU exports to Russia now travel by road, and trade by land transport, both road and rail, between the parties is set to grow by 11 % a year. The EU and Russia established a transport dialogue in October 2005, with the aim of discussing improvements of transport and infrastructure links and to promote a better understanding of current and future policies.

Interbus making passenger travel easier

The Interbus agreement between the EU and a number of its eastern and south-eastern European neighbours has helped to liberalise access to the market for certain services supplied by bus and coach operators. It originally came into force in 2001, so many of the original signatories are now EU Member States. The EUs current co-signatories are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova and Turkey. Interbus encompasses a number of social, financial and technical measures that have helped to harmonise and simplify rules under which coach and bus operators work.

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Main legal references

Basic principles
Admission to the occupation Directive 96/26/EC (OJ L 124, 23.5.1996, pp. 110), as amended by Directive 98/76/EC (OJ L 277, 14.10.1998, pp. 1725) Road haulage Community authorisation: Regulation (EEC) No 881/92 (OJ L 95, 9.4.1992, pp. 17) Cabotage: Regulation (EEC) No 3118/93 (OJ L 279, 12.11.1993, pp. 116) Driver attestation: Regulation (EC) 484/2002 amending Regulations (EEC) No 881/92 and (EEC) No 3118/93 (OJ L 76, 19.3.2002, pp. 16) Hired vehicles: Directive 2006/1/EC (OJ L 33, 4.2.2006, pp. 8285) Passenger transport Community authorisation: Regulation (EEC) No 684/92 (OJ L 74, 20.3.1992, pp. 19), as amended by Regulation (EC) No 11/98 (OJ L 4, 8.1.1998, pp. 19) Cabotage: Regulation (EC) No 12/98 (OJ L 4, 8.1.1998, pp. 1014)

Safety and social aspects

Driving time, working hours and rest periods Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 (OJ L 102, 11.4.2006, pp. 114), Directive 2002/15/EC (OJ L 80, 23.3.2002, pp. 3539) Standards and checks Tachograph: Regulation (EEC) No 3821/85 (OJ L 370, 31.12.1985, pp. 821), modified by Regulation (EC) No 2135/98 (OJ L 274, 9.10.1998, pp. 121) and Regulation (EC) No 1360/2002 (OJ L 207, 5.8.2002, pp. 1252), and at the latest by Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 Directive 2006/22/EC (OJ L102, 11.4.2006, pp. 3544) Driver training: Directive 2003/59/EC (OJ L 226, 10.9.2003, pp. 417)

Taxes and charges

Excise duty Excise duty on fuel: Directive 2003/96/EC (OJ L 283, 31.10.2003, pp. 5170) Eurovignette and tolls Directive 99/62/EC as amended by Directive 2006/38/EC (OJ L 157, 9.6.2006, pp. 823) Interoperability of electronic tolls: 2004/52/EC (OJ L166, 30.4.2004, pp. 124143)

Agreements with non-member countries

EC/Swiss Confederation agreement Agreement on the carriage of goods and passengers by rail and road (OJ L114, 30.4.2002, pp. 91131) Interbus agreement Council Decision 2002/917/EC (OJ L 321, 26.11.2002, pp. 1112) To access these legal texts, see http://eur-lex.europa.eu/

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Road transport is critical for Europe, for our economy, for our jobs and for our well-being. Regardless of how much other modes of transport develop, including those perceived as more environmentally friendly, there will always be a requirement for high-quality road freight and passenger transport services, whether stand-alone or as part of a multimodal transport chain. The EU aims to create the conditions in which Europes road transport market operates efficiently and safely, and the policies it is implementing are set out in this brochure. http://.ec.europa.eu/transport/road/policy/index_en.htm