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‘Painfully slow’ progress being made against French and German transport minimum wage

16 June 2016

‘Painfully slow’ progress being made against French and German transport minimum wage

European Conservatives and Reformists MEPs have welcomed the European Commission’s decision to send a first warning to France, and further warnings Germany over laws that require foreign hauliers to be paid French and German minimum wage when they drive through these countries.

European Conservatives and Reformists MEPs have welcomed the European Commission’s decision to send a first warning to France, and further warnings Germany over laws that require foreign hauliers to be paid French and German minimum wage when they drive through these countries.The minimum wage is higher there than in most Central and Eastern European states, and adds significant administrative burdens onto employers from other countries.

The European Commission launched an ‘infringement’ procedure against Germany in May 2015, but so far little progress has been made. As well as sending a first ‘letter of formal notice’ to France, the European Commission announced a second letter has been sent to Germany, which ECR MEPs argue is far too slow given the pressure the legislation is placing on haulage companies.

ECR Transport spokesman and Latvian MEP Roberts Zile, and senior Slovakian MEP Richard Sulík recently organised for their own letter to be sent to the EU Transport Commissioner, co-signed by 40 MEPs, calling for formal action to be considered so that this ‘ protectionist’ situation can be resolved.

Roberts Zile MEP said:
“We have no objection to a country setting a minimum wage, but to enforce it upon all foreign companies that might have economic activity there is disproportionate, protectionist and harmful to the haulage industry within the whole EU internal market, and obviously is aimed against haulage companies of Central and Eastern Europe.

“The European Commission is dragging its heels in taking action against Germany in particular. Meanwhile the haulage companies suffer from the uncertainty. France and Germany are countries that cannot be avoided by most hauliers wanting to do business within the single market, and this legislation runs contrary to a core principle about free movement of goods.”

Richard Sulik said:

“The French and German laws are effectively bullying foreign hauliers. This law is creating a protectionist obstacle against the free movement of goods within the EU single market, so the European Commission has a responsibility to remove that obstacle without delay.
“We welcome the pressure that is being placed on the French government, but given the painfully slow progress being made with Germany we cannot understand why the commission is not moving forward in the infringement process in order to keep the single market open.”

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