The ongoing search for a compromise regarding the Mobility Package has almost come to an end. After at the end of last year, the representatives of EU Parliament, Council and der Commission had agreed a joint text in trilogue, the EU Parliament’s Transport Committee has now confirmed the result with a relatively slim majority.
A recent study by the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour takes a closer look at the consequences of further liberalisation in road transport for truck drivers and transport companies, given that liberalisation prevails without practical control mechanisms that would allow for a fair competition. The study highlights the consequences of lacking measures combatting wage and social dumping on European roads and examines the effects on climate protection and environmentally friendly rail freight transport.
Long before the official presentation of the European Green Deal, eyebrows were raised as to the funding of the mammoth project. On 14 January 2020 the Commission presented the financial plan for the green transition to MEPs, including an investment plan for a sustainable Europe and a mechanism for a just transition.
Shortly before Christmas 2019, EU Parliament, Council and Commission reached political agreement for recasting the Drinking Water Directive. Six years after the first successful European citizens’ initiative “right2water”, a first step has been taken to convert a key demand of this initiative into European law.
The Mobility Package, which was extremely controversially discussed by the EU institutions since May 2017, is nearing completion. As this Package newly regulates the working and social conditions for HGV and bus drivers as well as market access for transport companies, it could have made a large contribution to the fight against wage and social dumping. However, the agreement of the trilogue negotiations between Council, Parliament and Commission, which was reached on 12th December 2019, only provides actual improvements for the driving personnel in some points.
For a conference at the European Parliament, the GUE/NGL faction invited representatives from both areas affected by the negotiations to exchange views. It became clear that trade unions, environmental organisations and human rights NGOs from both sides of the Atlantic reject the agreement. The reasons for this are manifold, but everyone agrees: the planned EU-MERCOSUR Trade Agreement is a threat to people and nature.
The Communication from the European Commission on the Green Deal for Europe on 11th December 2019 had been awaited with much anticipation. During its presentation in the European Parliament, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pointed out that it was not the objective of the EU Commission to “find out what the costs of non-action would be”.
For decades, companies have been deploying the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) to sue 55 Member States in investor state dispute settlement proceedings for amounts running into billions if these, due to (environmental) laws, risked reducing their chances of making profit. The Energy Charter Treaty in particular precludes the fight against the climate crisis and the necessary conversion to CO2 neutral energy, like the phase-out of oil and coal.
Due to the fact that their predecessors had been rejected by the European Parliament, the hearings of the three Commission candidates, who were subsequently nominated by their Member States, took place on 15th November 2019 before the European Parliament. Particular focus was put on the Rumanian Adina Vălean, who had been recommended for transport matters. Especially this policy area requires significant changes if the EU really wants to achieve the targets of a CO2-neutral continent by 2050 and a socially fair transition.
European Commission, Council and Parliament are currently negotiating the final version of the so-called Mobility Package within the trilogue process. A debate in the Employment Committee on the current state of the negotiations showed that many key issues are still open. However, from the AK’s point of view there are many red lines, which have to be taken into consideration to ensure that the Package does indeed improve drivers’ working conditions and that wage and social dumping is effectively combatted.