EU Parliament supports restoration of the 12-day derogation for Coach Tours
December 03, 2007
Strasbourg – IRU welcomes the adoption, by a large majority (536 votes in favour to, 58 against and 22 abstentions), of the EU Parliament Resolution on a “ Renewed EU Tourism Policy: Towards a stronger partnership for European Tourism ” submitted by EP Rapporteur Paolo Costa, which urges the European Commission to examine “possibilities of postponing the rest period after roundtrips (not exceeding 12 days)”.
IRU President, Paul Laeremans, said, “We very much welcome this landmark political step, which should contribute to the reinstatement of the 12-day derogation in the Regulation (EC) No 561/2006. This clear message from the European Parliament along with the 20,000 EU coach tourism managers and drivers, who signed an IRU petition to the same end, must now be listened to by the European Commission. What European tourism and the coach industry need, as soon as possible, is a concrete proposal from the European Commission to re-introduce the 12-day derogation.”
The removal of the 12-day derogation for international occasional EU coach transport in April 2006, created a major crisis on the coach tourism market. Since then, coach tour operators have reported a dramatic 20-25% increase in costs resulting from the lost derogation, as well as negative consequences for drivers' welfare, with one company reporting that 20% of its drivers are considering leaving the profession because of the new rules, without mentioning the negative economic impact on tourism and travel in Europe.
With the recent launch of European Parliament and Commission studies on the impact of the rule change and an extremely constructive meeting between the IRU and Commissioner Barrot last week, the Parliament resolution represents another bold political move towards the increasing public-private consensus that the deletion of the derogation from EU driving and Rest Time Rules was a mistake that must be remedied.