Maltese Members of the European Parliament are expected to unanimously support a number of amendments to the so-called Mobility Package during today’s Plenary Session in Brussels.
Addressing local members of the press during a virtual press conference organised by the EP Office in Malta, Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba explained the reasons which brought together a number of countries on the periphery of the continent.
The MEP insisted that Parliament has consistently voted and brought about changes which improve the quality of working conditions for employees throughout the continent, but expressed his belief that this new package is not considering the challenges faced by countries in the periphery, particularly islands.
While the EU is pushing these new rules as a way to improve working conditions for lorry drivers, Maltese businesses operating in the sectors highlighted that this regulation will create significant challenges and burdens on them.
Agius Saliba said Malta, supported by another nine countries, mostly Eastern European countries, will propose a number of amendments to reduce the impact of this regulation on our businesses, particularly on the need for trucks to return to their home country every eight weeks, considering that it takes a truck leaving Malta five days simply to reach mainland Europe, while also adding to emissions. Maltese MEPs will also be opposing the four-day cooling-off period for cabotage operations.
The Socialist MEP also expressed his disagreement that the period during which drivers rest in cabins specifically provided for them in their trucks will not be considered as rest time according to the definition of the working time directive.
All these measures, the MEP said, will greatly increase burdens and costs for businesses based in countries on the periphery of the continent and on islands, such as Malta and Cyprus.