MEPs to ‘get tough’ with haulage firms on live animal transportation

MEPs will discuss plans this week to “get tough” with haulage firms who ignore EU rules on the transportation of live animals.
Photo Credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

22 Jan 2019

Following recent media reports on the ill treatment of transported animals, Parliament’s Agriculture Committee is set to call on Member States to better enforce EU rules on live animal transportation, properly penalise infringements and look into ways to reduce transport time.

On Monday, a parliamentary source told this website, “Transport can be very stressful for animals, due to limited space as well as restricted access to food and water, especially on long journeys and for young animals such as calves, lambs or piglets.”

The source said that in a debate on Wednesday the committee will discuss animal welfare within and outside the EU and, in particular, the “lack of implementation of a directive dating back to 2015 on the transportation of live animals.”


He said, “MEPs are not happy with the lack of implementation of the directive and will ask the Commission to look at this issue more closely, possibly including the imposition of sanctions on transport operators who flout the law.”

An ECR spokesman said one of its MEPs, Jorn Dohrmann, will present his draft report on the implementation of EU legislation in this area.

The spokesman said, “His report says that the transport of live animals to third countries should be banned if their standards do not match the EU's as a minimum.”

The report also finds that data collection varies wildly between member states and there needs to be a stronger link between CAP payments.

“MEPs are not happy with the lack of implementation of the directive and will ask the Commission to look at this issue more closely, possibly including the imposition of sanctions on transport operators who flout the law” Parliamentary source

An update of EU consumer protection rules will, meanwhile, be up for a vote in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

The update covers, among different issues, penalties for infringements, transparency of online marketplaces, for example, ratings and reviews, protection for consumers who use 'free' digital services such as apps, social media, doorstep-selling as well as dual quality of products.

It is part of the “New Deal for Consumers” package.


Elsewhere this week, MEPs will discuss reform of cohesion policy which currently accounts for about half of the EU budget, although this will fall to about one third under the next long-term budget.

Amongst plans under discussion, the cohesion funding could be cut with the commission wanting more flexibility to shift structural funds from poorer to richer areas, something the parliament’s rapporteurs on the issue oppose.

They do agree, however, that the visibility of cohesion fund projects should be increased in order to show the public how such funds are being invested.

The committee vote on this issue also covers EU funds for regional development, social, cohesion, asylum and migration, internal security and border management policies, which are spent and managed by member states.


In a busy week for parliament, members will also debate a proposal to improve compensation payable to victims of road accidents

An update of the EU motor insurance directive and better protection for citizens against unfair business practices will be debated by the internal market committee.

Proposed provisions relate to compensating victims when an insurance company goes bankrupt, minimum amounts of insurance cover, as well as checks to tackle uninsured drivers.

According to parliament, the aim is to “close loopholes” in citizens’ legal rights to compensation under existing EU legislation. One example cited is if someone is hit by a vehicle when visiting another country on business or tourism and driver is uninsured.

Under efforts to improve rights to compensation, national bodies would have to create a fund to ensure that victims of accidents receive the compensation they are entitled to.

Possible new rules would also establish financial penalties across member states to ensure that victims are compensated at the same standard level. Fines would be levied against member states that do not comply with the rules.


The rising tensions in the sea of Azov following last weekend's events that saw Russia fire on and seize three Ukrainian Navy vessels, will also be discussed during a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Security and Defence Sub-Committee (SEDE).

Representatives from the Ukrainian Government and the EEAS will be present to discuss the latest developments.

Polish MEP Anna Fotyga, who chairs the committee, has condemned Russia's recent and continuing aggressive posturing in the Sea of Azov which, the ECR says, is a “further testament of their openly belligerent approach” to Ukraine’s territorial integrity, international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

A legislative proposal aiming to alleviate water scarcity, in the context of adapting to climate change, by increasing the uptake of water reuse for agricultural irrigation, will be voted on today by the Environment and Public Health Committee.

The proposal seeks to ensure that reclaimed water is safe, by setting standards for its quality.

Meanwhile, the International Trade Committee will vote on Thursday on whether to approve a free-trade deal with Singapore that would end virtually all tariffs on EU imports to the country.

Intellectual property rights, rules of origin and sustainable development clauses are part of the package.

In parallel, the committee votes on investor-state dispute settlements between the two parties.

On Wednesday, parliament’s president Antonio Tajani will deliver the opening speech at a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day and meet Georgia’s President Salome Zurabishvili.

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