Social dumping, road safety and unfair competition at the heart of discussions at the Conference on Road Control

Georges Gilkinet and Pierre-Yves Dermagne, federal Ministers for respectively Mobility and Employment, invited the various partners in charge of road transport in Europe to a conference held in Brussels on Friday 23 February to discuss social challenges in the sector and recent control measures. The aim of these new measures is to protect drivers against social dumping, improve road safety and tackle unfair competition.

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Georges Gilkinet, Belgian Federal Minister for Mobility: “Guaranteeing high-quality mobility in Europe with high environmental and social standards is one of my priorities as Chairman of the EU Council's Transport sector. This requires effective roadside checks to ensure that everyone complies with the rules laid down at European level, which must guarantee drivers' safety and working conditions, as well as fair competition. Today's high-level conference demonstrated recent progress in this area, but also the challenges that remain. And we have sent a clear message to the next European Commission: we must collectively continue and step up the fight against social dumping and unfair competition to achieve better social and environmental conditions in the road transport sector.”

Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Belgian Federal Minister for Employment: “The set of measures in the European Mobility Package is essential to ensure a proper balance between the social protection of drivers and the freedom of operators to provide cross-border transport services. To ensure the enforcement of the Mobility Package, more cooperation between member states is needed. The pursuit of more equal competition between companies requires the enforcing of more road safety and just treatment of workers.”

In January, the Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport organised a roadside inspection specifically dedicated to the use of the DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications) device. Some colleagues from France and Luxembourg came to learn from their experience. Thanks to this new technology, control officers can remotely access tachograph data in international transport lorries. They can thereby more accurately identify vehicles that should be subject to a detailed inspection.

Since the DSRC device has been used, control authorities have been able to conduct more targeted inspections, enabling them to identify beforehand vehicles that should be inspected. Moreover, it is now possible to detect specific infringements that were previously hard to notice.

Controlling compliance with resting and driving times is essential to fight against social dumping and unfair competition, and strongly improves road safety in Belgium and within the European Union.

Exchange of good practices between Member States

The Federal Ministers for Mobility and Employment present at the conference discussed the new control methods and their implications since the entry into force of the Mobility Package. They also had the opportunity to discuss initiatives aimed at harmonising the control approaches of the different EU countries, with a view to constantly improving cooperation. CORTE presented the TRACE II document, which harmonises the interpretation of legislation between the authorities of the different Member States. In their speeches, ELA, ETF and IRU identified the social challenges facing the sector that need to be considered. Finally, the EESC presented its Exploratory opinion on the topic of posting of drivers. These presentations served as the basis for a panel discussion with the representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the various participating organisations. After the debate, the Belgian Ministers for Mobility and Employment gave their views on the measures needed in the future. Above all, Belgium stressed the importance of fair and safe mobility on European roads.