Release Date: 06 December 2007
Release ID: 1331
The EU is on the brink of destabilising contractual relations in road transport by agreeing new legislation on the law applicable to contractual obligations.
European Ministers of Justice are on the verge of destroying the existing international framework of contractual rules and norms, which underpin the smooth functioning of the pan European road transport market. On 6 December, they propose to adopt new EU legislation in this area, justified by the perceived but illusory need to develop a single European area of justice and to improve protection of consumers in case of conflicts in contracts.
However, the EU has failed to recognise that a more suitable, well established and international framework already in existence makes this EU initiative damaging and unnecessary. IRU President, Paul Laeremans, said, "In adopting this new Regulation, the EU will have completely ignored the fact that several UN conventions already regulate conflicts-of-law in goods and passenger transport by road in a totally appropriate, sufficient and satisfactory way. This new legislation makes a mockery of the “EU’s Better Regulation Initiative” which sets out as a principal aim the removal of EU legislation which unnecessarily duplicates UN or other international law.
In fact, the new legislation regulates conflicts-of-law in a different manner than the CVR and CMR Conventions, which currently govern passenger and goods road transport contracts. It will also prevent Member States from becoming contracting parties to international conventions once this new regulation is adopted. In addition, lack of clarity regarding the exclusion of customs matters from the scope of the Regulation could have a devastating impact on insurance contracts concluded under international customs conventions and, in particular, the guarantee provided by the TIR system which facilitates trade around the world.
The EU is once again demonstrating its propensity to develop insular and regional solutions that are totally unsatisfactory for solving today’s global issues. IRU President, Paul Laeremans, added, "In adopting this new Regulation, the EU Institutions are showing disrespect for international law and the need for trade that goes beyond its own borders. In an era dominated by increased globalisation of travel and trade, this is unacceptable. The legal uncertainty which could hit the road transport sector and also its partners in other modes will have a serious negative impact on the functioning of the entire European transport sector and on its position in the global market.”
The EU Institutions must make their rules compatible with international conventions and not the opposite. The IRU strongly calls on Ministers not to adopt this new Regulation and to reopen discussions in order to guarantee legal certainty and good functioning of transport systems in the European Union and beyond.
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