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Fidesz MEPs welcomed a vote by the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) rejecting the draft report on legislation affecting the road haulage industry, saying that it was a positive development for central and eastern European companies. “Road haulage is one of the sectors where the region has some competitive advantage,” Andor Deli, an MEP of the ruling party, said. “Western politicians and trade unions have been trying to curb that by employing protectionist measures.”

“They may well profess to protect the interests of long-haul drivers but their proposals actually put the jobs of hundreds of thousands at risk,” he added. One of the focal points of the debate was the issue of extending regulations regarding posted workers to the haulage industry, in which case their wages would have to be adjusted to those paid in the country they work in as opposed to the home country of their companies.

The Hungarian ministry for innovation and technology said earlier that the planned measures would put all road haulage companies based in the EU at a competitive disadvantage. Officials from the transport ministries of Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and Lithuania took a unified stand against the measures. “A realistic, balanced and implementable compromise is necessary, one that ensures protection for lorry drivers at the same time as fair competition and free movement of services,” said Hungarian state secretary for transport policy László Mosóczi. Exempting lorry drivers who make cross-border deliveries from new directives on posted workers can boost the productivity of European companies, he added.