EU truck regulation needs input from those on the roads

Cabotage rule is 'completely worthless', writes truck driver turned MEP Peter Lundgren.

By Peter Lundgren

02 Jul 2015

Transport policy debates in parliament are often led by well-educated people who unfortunately have very little understanding or practical experience of the transport sector. It's a real shame that more MEPs aren't 'ordinary' people with a working background.

I was a truck driver for 30 years and therefore, I believe it is very important for me to provide practical input. I consider myself a spokesperson for all my fellow truck drivers back home. Common sense will get you far and having come here to the European parliament with just a working class background, I am living proof of that.

In my eyes, the most important issue when it comes to EU transport policy are cabotage rules. Cabotage allows foreign trucks to enter a country with a load, stay there for seven days and transport up to three different national loads on their way back home. 


Nowadays, in Sweden, where I am from, many companies twist the rules by hiring trucks from the new eastern member states for half the price of what a Swedish firm would charge. They pay the drivers as little as €205 per month, regardless of how much they work. This is an outrage.

The cabotage rule is a completely worthless law, created by people who had little knowledge of the situation. It was intended to prevent trucks from driving around without a load.

Now, drivers can, for example, use the rules to cross the bridge from Sweden to Denmark - which takes 30 minutes - then go back to Sweden immediately, granting them a new seven day period and allowing them to transport three more national loads.

Bureaucrats have actually created a way of cheating the legislation. After using the cabotage rules and leaving a country, drivers should not be allowed to re-enter for a period of one month.

The European commission must revise the cabotage rules in order to prevent the constant cheating happening in the transport sector. Right now, the legislation is having a disastrous effect on companies in my home country, because they can't compete with the firms that are misusing the rules.

I would also like to see longer, heavier trucks than what we currently have in Europe. Mega trucks are the perfect solution to the environmental issues caused by long-distance travel. 

Trucks should carry as large a load as possible to reduce their total numbers on Europe's roads. This system has been in place in Sweden for many years and handling a large truck is no problem whatsoever. It's simply stupid to say no to mega trucks.

My most important mission in parliament is to safeguard my country's survival, by doing an honest job.