Malta files legal challenge over EU’s new trucking rules

The Transport Ministry has confirmed that Malta has filed a complaint before the Court of Justice of the European Union against the Mobility Package 1, measures seeking to modernise EU road transport rules which are expected to put Malta at a disadvantage.

The complaint concerns two specific rules included in the package, specifically the “Return-Home of Vehicles” rule and the “Cabotage Cooling-off Period” rule. The former rule requires transport companies to send their drivers home every 4 weeks, while the latter limits cabotage freight trips to no more than 3 stops in an EU country within 7 days, constraining them to “cool off” for 4 days afterwards.

The package was adopted by the Council and the European Parliament last July. However, the Transport Ministry highlighted that the two contentious rules were not part of the original proposals presented by the European commission but added towards the end of the legislative procedure over the objections of various member states.

Malta is thus arguing that these measures were not subject to a proper impact assessment. It also quoted a KPMG study commissioned by the government indicating that both rules were expected to have a negative impact on Malta – primarily as a result of its geographic position – and on the environment.

“It is the government’s view that the adopted measures violate the EU Treaty provisions and lead to distortion of the EU Single Market by including measures that serve to disrupt road haulage operations, increase costs for consumers and exports, and disproportionately and adversely affect a peripheral and island member state like Malta. Malta is therefore requesting the Court of Justice to annual these measures,” the ministry said.

It also highlighted that other EU member states have initiated or are planning to initiate similar actions, and that this was the Malta’s first challenge of an EU measure at the CJEU.