Malta challenges EU trucking rules in court

Malta has filed a complaint before the Court of Justice of the European Union against new trucking rules which the government says will undermine the country’s competitiveness. 

The new rules force trucking companies to provide a paid rest period of around 45 hours every three to four consecutive weeks, at “the employer’s establishment or to the drivers’ place of residence”.

Trucks will 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.

Maltese operators Attrans told Times of Malta the rules would cost the company between €500,000 and €1 million because of the need to buy more trucks and employ more people. 

In a statement on Saturday the government said the two specific rules were not part of the original proposals presented by the European Commission but were only added towards the end of the legislative procedure, despite the objections of several member states, including Malta.

“These measures were therefore not subject to a proper impact assessment by the EU institutions. A KPMG study commissioned by the government shows that both these rules are expected to have a negative impact on Malta, making road haulage operations more costly, mainly as a result of Malta’s geographic position, and having also a negative impact on the environment,” the government said. 

Malta is arguing that the measures violate the EU Treaty provisions and lead to distortion of the EU Single Market by including measures that serve to disrupt road haulage operations, increase costs for consumers and exports, and disproportionately and adversely affect Malta as a peripheral and island member state.

Malta is therefore requesting the Court of Justice to annual these measures.

The government said other member states have also initiated a similar annulment action on the measures, or are in the process of doing so.

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