Linava, Lithuania’s national haulers' association, on Wednesday staged protests in front of French, Belgian and German embassies in Vilnius in an attempt to turn attention to those countries' laws which, according to haulers, unnecessarily limits their activities.
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

“The European Union’s old-timers are trying to… protect their markets through their national legislation. In the opinion of lawyers, MEPs and in our own view, it’s illegal, since the concept of the European Union implies free movement of goods and services,” Erlandas Mikėnas, chairman of Linava’s committee of legal and organizational affairs, told BNS.

New laws adopted in Belgium and France banned professional truck drivers from taking their weekly rest in the vehicle.

“We aren’t in favour of truck drivers spending all their time and taking their rest in the vehicle. However, infrastructures in those countries are not adapted to this law. There are no hotels in truck parking lots, they are not guarded, so it’s not possible to leave the freight unattended. We’ve been warned by insurers that freight insurance will not cover such events. Meanwhile, if we go to hotels, there are no parking lots for trucks there,” Mikėnas said.

Germany has adopted a law introducing a national minimum wage of 8.5 euros an hour, which applies to all employees who work in Germany, including truck drivers crossing the country.

“Germany was the first to lead the wrong way. Meanwhile, the adoption of such a law is being debated in France as well as in Sweden,” Mikėnas said.

He added that the European Commission (EC) had already discussed those problems and should give the final answer in mid-summer or by autumn.

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