Key reforms to EU legislation in the road transport sector have been agreed by the Transport Ministers of the Member States.

At a meeting of the council in December 2018, ministers reached agreement on a general approach to a package of reforms on issues including drivers’ working conditions, special posting rules for drivers in international transport and access to the haulage market.

According to the council, the reforms are aimed at ensuring a balance between adequate working conditions for drivers and operators’ freedom to provide cross-border services.

They will also, it says, provide clarity for the sector and put an end to Member States putting their own — differing — interpretations on EU rules.

Under the proposed changes, drivers’ work schedules will have to be organised to enable them to return home at least every four weeks. Individual drivers could, however, choose to take two reduced weekly rests after spending three weeks on the road.

In order to ensure adequate working conditions for drivers, their regular weekly rest periods must be spent outside the vehicle.

Although the current rule allowing a maximum of three cabotage operations in seven days will be maintained, better enforcement measures will aim to prevent systematic cabotage, with a five-day cooling-off period being introduced to prohibit the same vehicle being used for cabotage operations in the same country during that time.

The principle of the same pay for the same work at the same place is to be upheld through requiring haulage operations to be organised so that the link between a driver's work and the country of establishment is maintained and drivers will therefore be excluded from EU rules on posted workers.

The proposed reforms were introduced by the European Commission in June 2017 as part of the “first mobility package”. The draft text agreed by Transport Ministers must now be discussed with the European Parliament.

Last reviewed 6 March 2019