Ministry of Transport and Communications’ State Secretary Tommy Skjervold in Brussels to discuss drivers’ winter driving qualifications and fair competition for freight transport

- Norway is a country where winters are long and winter driving conditions are tough. We must make sure that everyone who drives on Norwegian roads, particularly heavy vehicle drivers, has the necessary skills to handle these conditions. We also want stricter rules and equal application of regulations for goods carriers in Europe. Therefore, these days in Brussels are important in order to share Norwegian positions on a number of relevant EU matters relating to road transport,” says State Secretary Tommy Skjervold.

Statssekretær Tommy Skjervold i Brussel
Credit: Mathias Ulstein/Mission of Norway to the EU

During Skjervold’s trip to Brussels on 4-5 December, he followed up several years of work by the Government to highlight the tough winter conditions for heavy transport in Norway. On a number of occasions, the Minister of Transport and Communications has emphasised challenging Norwegian winter roads and the need for highly-qualified drivers. The main topic in Skjervold’s meeting with the countries that participate in the Road Alliance was the EU’s Mobility Package, in particular the proposals relating to social conditions in road transport – such as new cabotage rules, market access and driving and rest time.

- As regards market access, we want to ensure fair competition among the market players. From the Norwegian perspective, we consider the proposal now put forward by the European Commission to be a liberalisation of market access. We find it difficult to accept the proposal in its current form,” says the State Secretary.

The ministers in the Road Alliance agreed on a joint statement regarding the part of the Mobility Package that relates to social conditions in road transport. This statement was discussed in the EU’s Transport Council meeting on 5 December.

Support for the winter driving qualifications proposal

Skjervold also met with several MEPs in the European Parliament to discuss a number of relevant proposals in the road sector.

Among others, he met with Swedish MEP Peter Lundgren, who is the rapporteur for the proposal to revise the Professional Drivers Directive (Directive 2003/59/EF). At an earlier stage of the process to revise this particular directive, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has taken several initiatives to suggest stricter requirements for drivers’ qualifications to drive on winter roads. Rapporteur Lundgren has now followed up these initiatives in his report on the proposal.

- It is extremely important to us that foreign drivers possess the necessary skills to drive in Norway in tough winter conditions. I met with Lundgren and assured him of the Norwegian support for his proposal on winter qualifications, which is included in the Parliament’s proposed amendment. We are now working diligently to ensure that this proposal survives the ongoing negotiations between the Parliament and the Council,” says State Secretary Skjervold. (Include link to letter from the State Secretary to the Parliament regarding the proposal).

Skjervold also met with the rapporteur for the Mobility Package proposals relating to market access, cabotage (1071/2009 and 1072/2009) and road pricing (the Eurovignette directive – 2011/76/EF).

See: Home page of the Mobility Package.