Bulgarian Road Hauliers to Stage Protest in Brussels Thursday


Bulgarian Road Hauliers
to Stage Protest
in Brussels Thursday

Sofia, January 9 (BTA) - Bulgarian road hauliers will stage a
protest rally in Brussels on January 10 against what they see as
discriminatory provisions in proposed EU regulations
collectively known as Mobility Package 1. Bulgarian Transport
Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov will take part in the demonstration.

The protest will coincide with a meeting of the European
Parliament (EP) Transport and Tourism Committee which will vote
on new compromises to be tabled to the full EP on the social
pillar of Mobility Package 1 (on posting of drivers, on driving
and rest time and on cabotage). These three files were rejected
by the EP in July and were sent back to the Transport and
Tourism Committee for further consideration, the EP recalled on
its website.

Over 360 Bulgarian protestors will arrive in Brussels on two
charter flights, Bulgaria's Union of International Hauliers
(UIH) said on Wednesday. They will be joined by another 100-plus
Bulgarian haulier representatives and supporters who live in
the Brussels area or rely on their own travel arrangements to
get to the city. About 260 Romanian haulier representatives are
expected to participate as well.

Ten trucks will stay parked close by during the demonstration.
The peaceful protest will not involve blocking of roads, the UIH

The protestors plan to chant: "Mobility Package 1 is killing the
single market of the EU!"; "No to double standards in the EU's
transport sector!"; and "Will the European Parliament legalize a
business theft?"

The protest of the Bulgarian road hauliers is supported by the
country's President Rumen Radev, Government and Parliament, all
Bulgarian political parties and all Bulgarian members of the EP.

The demonstrators will protest against planned EU transport
regulations which Bulgaria views as an attempt to introduce
double standards, and which are feared to wreck the country's
transport sector by limiting competition and forcing many
drivers to emigrate. Some of the proposed provisions and
requirements will make Bulgaria's international haulage industry
non-competitive and will discourage drivers from working in it,
the UIH said.

Two of the main demands of the protestors are that trucks should
not be required to return to the home country once every four
weeks, and drivers should be allowed to spend their mandatory
45-hour weekly rest in the driver's compartment of their truck.
They also insist that drivers should not be included in the
scope of the Posted Workers Directive because their job is
different from those of all other posted workers.

The planned restrictions would affect mainly countries in the
EU's periphery, such as Bulgaria, whose geographical location
makes it most vulnerable. In their protest, the Bulgarians are
supported by Romanian, Polish, Hungarian and Lithuanian

Later on Wednesday, the European Commission said in a press
release that European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc
met with the transport ministers of Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania
and Poland to discuss legislative reforms for the road
transport sector.

Bulc is quoted as saying after the meeting that Europe needs
clear rules for the road transport sector, and status quo is
not an option. "Without a solution, we will face a
multiplication of uncoordinated national requirements. This
would fragment the Internal Market, creating uncertainty, higher
costs and a loss of competitiveness for the EU," she said. In
her words, the legislative reforms as part of the Mobility
Package that the Juncker Commission put forward in May 2017 will
address these challenges and make a real difference for both
drivers and operators.

Approached by Bulgarian journalists in Brussels after the meeting, Transport Minister Zhelyazkov said that he will attend Thursday's meeting of the EP Transport and Tourism Committee.

Asked about the Bulgarian hauliers' planned protest, he specified it is aimed not at putting pressure or demonstrating power but at showing that the peripheral EU countries, as well as countries such as Portugal, Ireland and Malta, are united against the proposed legislative reforms. "We came here to express our wish to achieve considerable improvements within the vote in the EP, in case we fail to block the legislative proposal at this stage," Zhelyazkov said.


Source: Sofia