What is the European Mobility Package?
The European Mobility Package contains rules for the international transport of goods and passengers. Some rules replace existing ones. The package also contains new rules for drivers and transport businesses. The rules come into effect on different dates.
Why is there a European Mobility Package?
With the mobility package, the European Union wants to contribute to:
- improving the working conditions and employment terms of lorry drivers
- creating a level playing field, with clear rules for businesses that provide cross-border services
- more effective and efficient enforcement
- improving road safety
What is going to change?
The rules are changing or have changed in 6 key areas.
Since August 2020, these rules apply to weekly rest periods and rest facilities:
- For their weekly rest periods, drivers may use suitable accommodation at the employer’s expense.
- Drivers may return home at least once every 4 weeks.
It is sometimes unclear if drivers are posted in a country or not. Drivers who are posted are entitled to the minimum wage, collective labour agreements and certain employment conditions of the EU country where they are working.
The European Mobility Package says that drivers who work in another country must get a posting certificate. This new rule is expected to come into effect in 2022.
Since 2 February 2022, lorry drivers must register any border crossing in the tachograph.
From 21 August 2023, newly registered lorries must have a type 2 smart tachograph (SMT2). A smart tachograph automatically tracks the location of the vehicle and registers border crossings. As of 31 December 2024, all lorries must have a smart tachograph. Also lorries that are already registered.
The EU wants to discourage letterbox companies. A letterbox company is one that only has a postal address in a specific country and no staff or office. The business and staff are situated in another country. A business may choose to do this because of financial advantages.
The EU wants to make the market for international goods transport fairer by discouraging letterbox companies. And so, since 21 February 2022, there are new rules on how and where a transport business is based. For example:
- Transport companies must have enough office space, administrative staff and technical facilities in the EU country where they are officially located. Just a postal address is no longer enough.
- A vehicle that transports goods internationally must return to the EU country where it is based every 8 weeks. This is called ‘return home vehicle’.
The European mobility package contains new rules on cabotage. Cabotage means that a transport company transports goods between 2 points within another EU country. For example, a Spanish transport business transports products between 2 cities in the Netherlands. Lorries are allowed to make a maximum of 3 cabotage journeys in a row. Afterwards, they must leave the country again.
A new rule came into effect on 21 February 2022. After the last cabotage trip, a lorry is not allowed to do any more cabotage trips for 4 days in that EU country. This is called the 'cooling-off period'.
Since 21 May 2022, lorries that weigh over 2.5 tonnes making international journeys will need a Euro licence. This previously only applied to lorries weighing more than 3.5 tonnes.
As of 31 December 2024, drivers must be able to show an inspector the driving and rest times for the past 56 days. This is currently 28 days.
Timeline for the European Mobility Package
The new rules for the European Mobility Package do not come into force at the same time. Check the timeline below:
- 20 August 2020: New rules on driving times and rest periods take effect.
- 2 February 2022: Drivers must register each border crossing with a tachograph.
- 21 February 2022: Lorries may not make any cabotage operations for 4 days after the last cabotage trip.
- 21 February 2022: Lorries for international transport businesses must return to their home country every 8 weeks.
- 21 February 2022: Transport companies must have administrative staff, office space and technical facilities in their country of establishment.
- 21 May 2022: Lorries over 2.5 tonnes will need a Euro licence for international transport.
- 21 August 2023: Newly registered lorries must have a smart tachograph (SMT2).
- 31 December 2024: All lorries must have a smart tachograph instead of an analogue or digital tachograph.
- 31 December 2024: Drivers must be able to show 56 days of driving time and rest periods.
Legal amendments still to be made
Some Dutch laws must still be amended to include the rules from the European Mobility Package. For example, the Transport of Goods by Road Act (Wwg), the Passenger Transport Act 2000 (Wp2000) and the Terms of Employment Posted Workers in the EU Act (WagwEU). This is expected to happen in 2022. It concerns these rules:
- The posting of drivers.
- Cabotage rules for combined transport (goods transported by inland waterway vessels, trains and lorries).
- Clients who know that a carrier does not comply with the rules for international transport are also liable (chain liability).
- If a transport manager does not meet the requirement of good repute, they must retake and pass the professional competence examinations for transport managers.
Rules in other EU countries
The rules of the European Mobility Package apply to all EU countries. However, countries are allowed to determine some rules themselves. For example, the cabotage rules for combined transport. Also, the rules that are incorporated into national laws do not come into force on the same date everywhere.