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Use of hired lorries – presidency agrees clearer and more flexible rules with European Parliament

Negotiators from the Council and the European Parliament recently (26 October 2021) reached a provisional agreement on revised rules for the use of hired vehicles for goods transport.

The revision clarifies the current rules, harmonises the legal framework and eases the restrictions on the use of such vehicles. Increased flexibility to hire vehicles will make transport operations more efficient and contribute to the smooth functioning of the single market. In addition, hired vehicles tend to be newer, safer and more environmentally friendly.

Jernej Vrtovec, Slovenian Minister for Infrastructure, President of the Council recently said:

The wider freedom to hire vehicles will give haulage companies more flexibility when there is peak demand or when a replacement vehicle is needed. At the same time, it ensures a level playing field and provides more opportunities for businesses that hire out vehicles for professional use. As hired vehicles often pollute less, these rules also support our common objective of greening the economy.

What will change?

Currently, the Directive guarantees the access by haulage companies to hired vehicles only when these are registered in the member state where the company has its seat.

Under the agreement, member states will not be allowed to restrict the use on their territory of a vehicle hired by a haulage company established in another member state, provided that the relevant rules in the member state of establishment are followed.

As the level of road transport tax varies considerably within the EU, member states will still be able to restrict, within certain limits, the use of vehicles hired in another member state by their own companies. These restrictions mainly concern the proportion of hired vehicles registered in another member state in the fleet of a haulage company, as well as the length of the lease period for a vehicle hired from abroad. The minimum guaranteed lease period for an individual vehicle registered in another member state is set at 2 months. There will be a maximum backstop possibility of 30 days, if required by national vehicle registration rules.

To improve enforcement competent authorities will have to record the registration numbers of vehicles hired from another member state in their national electronic registers of road transport undertakings. 

When will the new rules start to apply?

EU countries will have to incorporate the new provisions into their legislation 14 months after the entry into force of the directive.

This reflects the timeline for putting in place the additional control measures required by the first Mobility Package.

Procedure and next steps

The proposal on hired vehicles is part of the first Mobility Package, presented by the Commission in May 2017 to make transport cleaner, more competitive and socially fair. The Council agreed its negotiating position in June 2021.

The provisional agreement reached recently is subject to approval by the Council. It will now be submitted to the Council's Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) for endorsement.

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Original article link: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/10/26/use-of-hired-lorries-presidency-agrees-clearer-and-more-flexible-rules-with-european-parliament/

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