European Commission work programme for 2023. What’s in it for road transport?

In mid-October 2022, the European Commission presented its work programme for 2023, with an aim to successfully achieve climate neutrality by 2050, shape digital future, strengthen the unique social market economy, build a Union of prosperity and make Europe stronger in the world. The Commission work programme contains 43 new policy initiatives under six headline targets.

We have identified for you a number of legislative initiatives, that will affect the provision of road transport in Europe. The European Commission is planning to continue its work on green agenda with the aim to reduce emissions and combating global warming. In addition, we can also expect proposals on combined transport as well as weights and dimensions, digitalisation, skills shortages, driving licence and late payments.

 

European Green Deal headline

The effects of climate change are becoming more and more serious and green transition is crucial to overcoming the climate crisis and strengthening the European economy and security. The European Commission has already submitted majority of legislative proposals necessary to implement the European Green Deal, as part of the “Fit for 55” package. At the end of 2022 the Commission has also put forward a proposal for a Regulation on Euro 7 standards for cars, vans, trucks and buses with regards to emissions and battery durability.  

Below you will find a list of initiatives we may expect to be still published in 2023:

·         Revision of Regulation 2019/1242 on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles (Q1). This initiative raises a lot of concerns, as the European Parliament and the Council have recently agreed on a ban on production of new combustion engine cars and vans as from 2035. Would a similar solution be applied in case of HDVs? This is still to be seen.

·         Revision of the weights and dimensions Directive (EU) 2015/719 (2Q). The revision of the current rules will certainly address the fragmentation of the market in the context of various national regulations and multilateral agreements, as well as different requirements and authorization schemes. The Commission will also try to incentivize the uptake of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles and consumption of alternative fuels. The revision will also address ineffective and inconsistent enforcement of cross-border rules.

·         Revision of the combined transport Directive 92/106/EEC (Q2). The main objective of the new rules is to support the shift from road freight transport to less emission-intensive transport modes such as inland waterways, maritime transport and rail. The current provisions have proven to be insufficient in this context. As part of the revision, the Commission is planning to extend the scope of the Directive to more transport operations, create more opportunities to support intermodal shift and reduce the external costs of intermodal transport.

·         Revision of the roadworthiness package (Q3). The revision of the package involves the revision of three directives: Directive 2014/45/EC on the periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles; Directive 2014/47/EC on the technical roadside inspections of commercial vehicles; and Directive 1999/37/EC, as amended by Directive 2014/46/EC, on the registration documents for vehicles. Its specific objectives are to ensure the functioning of modern electronic safety components, advanced driver assistance systems and automated functions during the vehicles’ lifetime, to perform meaningful emission tests during vehicle inspections, and to improve the electronic storage and exchange of relevant roadworthiness and vehicle identification status/data between EU Member States and facilitate the digitalisation of administrative documents and certificates.

 

A Europe Fit for the Digital Age headline

In addition to the ecological transformation, Brussels is also supporting digital transformation. Digital solutions are intended to make the European economy more efficient and less resource-intensive, while minimizing the environmental and climate footprint.

This is the list of initiatives we may expect to be published in 2023:

·         Creation of a common European mobility data space (Q2). A proposal will be published in order to stimulate the digitalisation of the mobility sector and promote innovative solutions. The aim of the project is to facilitate the access, connection and exchange of transport and mobility data between existing databases and to guarantee better protection of data generated by companies and individuals.

·         EU regulatory framework for hyperloop (Q3) to be ready to accommodate this high-speed, low-carbon transport solution.

·         Economic aid package for SMEs, including revision of Directive 2011/7/EU on combating late payments (Q3). This initiative is meant to reduce the burden on SMEs. Already in 2019, the European Parliament drew attention to the fact that late payments affect all sectors of the economy but are particularly widespread in sectors such as transport. In addition, according to the EP, delays in payments are responsible for every fourth bankruptcy of enterprises in the EU. This problem has been exacerbated even more during the Covid 19 pandemic.

 

An Economy that works for people headline

·         Revision of Driving Licence Directive 2006/126/EC (Q1). The aim of this initiative is to improve road safety and make cross-border movement easier. The new initiative will take into account new challenges for mobility, including with digital processing of driving licenses. Minimum age of professional drivers will be also discussed.

 

Promoting our European way of life headline

In spring 2022, the European Commission published the Pact on Migration and Asylum to improve the management of legal migration while reducing skills shortages. On this occasion, a number of initiatives aimed at attracting skilled workers to the EU, including drivers, were presented. The Commission plans to further intensify its activities in this area in 2023:

·         The Commission will push forward the implementation of the Skills and Talents Package to facilitate the flow of legal migrants. These activities are to be reinforced by a new initiative that will facilitate the recognition of qualifications of third-country nationals in order to attract people with the right skills to our continent. This issue will be an important element of the European Year of Skills 2023.

 

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