Metsola joins Malta effort to stop EU rules on trucking

Rules to restirct drivers' rest period at employer’s establishment or drivers’ place of residence place disproportionate burden on Malta, MEP says

Roberta Metsola
Roberta Metsola

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola is working to exclude Malta from a controversial clause in the EU’s mobility package that would mean a hike in cost for Maltese haulage companies.

Under the amended text following the first round of negotiations, haulage companies would be bound to restrict their drivers' rest period, established at 45 hours every three to four consecutive weeks, at “the employer’s establishment or to the drivers’ place of residence.”

Trucks would also have to return to the company’s headquarters every eight weeks, in a move designed to prevent haulage companies from trying to register in other EU countries to take advantage of lower taxes. For Maltese companies, this means extra ferry trips to Malta.

“For the Maltese context, as an island nation - like Cyprus - the rules simply do not make sense and will place a disproportionate burden on local businesses. It will come at a huge cost and indirectly favour those companies based outside island jurisdictions,” Metsola said.

Metsola said the requirement to return heavy vehicles to Malta every eight weeks contradicts both the purpose of the Commission’s initial legislative proposals to reduce negative environmental effects and the EU climate goals set out by the Commission in the new European Green Deal.

“This requirement will result in a notable increase in the number of empty runs of trucks on European roads which will subsequently result in a substantial increase in CO2 emissions, pollution and congestion from the transport sector.

“What I want is to see Malta and Cyprus specifically excluded from these clauses and our insularity taken into consideration. We are not too late, it is not impossible. This is expected to go to vote in June and we have time to submit amendments on these lines,” Metsola said.

“This is an issue on which we must work across Party lines to solve along with Maltese diplomats. I will be meeting the affected haulage companies in the coming days in Malta. We have to work together to find solutions.”