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Hungary contests EU trucking rules with CJEU

Hungaryʼs government on Monday filed an action with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) seeking the annulment of certain provisions in the Mobility Package on the grounds they are discriminatory and run counter to EU climate objectives, state news wire MTI reports, citing a joint statement by the Innovation and Technology Ministry and the Justice Ministry.

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The contested provisions impose a disproportionate financial and administrative burden on European haulers and are also impossible to enforce, the ministries said.

The ministries noted that the European Parliament and the European Council had approved the Mobility Package in July in the face of vocal opposition by Hungary and other member states.

The ministries said the Hungarian government had taken a stand against the provisions in all available forums since the drafting of the package started three years earlier.

The declared goals of the new regulations are to protect the interests of truck drivers, while improving their social and work conditions, but the Hungarian government is of the view that the new provisions address existing problems poorly and further worsen the situation of those affected rather than resolving issues, the ministries said.

The provisions run contrary to the principle of free movement of labor, goods, and services; and they restrict the operation of the unified market and national markets with protectionist measures, they added.

The ministries said the provisions give haulers from outside of the EU an advantage, which hurts member states economically and can cause a deterioration in traffic safety conditions for EU citizens.

The governmentʼs CJEU action seeks to exempt haulers from the EU directive on posted workers, to exempt accompanied combined transport from new rules on combined transport, to scrap the prohibition on sleeping in cabs because of the insufficient number of safe rest stops, to roll back the deadline for installing smart tachographs to the originally planned 2034, and to eliminate a rule requiring lorry drivers to return to their base of operations every eight weeks.

In a post on Facebook, Justice Minister Judit Varga said the new rules "undermine the EUʼs internal market and deliberately strengthen the undue competitive advantage of Western European Member States".

She said that Hungary had been joined by Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, and Romania, in consistently opposing the regulations.

"As we did in the case of the Posting of Workers Directive in 2018, we are taking strong action against EU legislation and we call on the Court of Justice of the European Union to annul legislation that is contrary to the principles enshrined in the EU Treaties and contrary to the freedom to provide services," she said.