Government decided not to apply certain exemptions from road transport rules

NordenBladet — The Government has decided how Finland will apply the EU Regulation on the extension of derogations in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.On 18 January 2021, the European Commission issued a proposal for a regulation on specific temporary measures following the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal concerns road, rail and inland waterway transport and maritime safety with regard to certain permits and qualifications. The objective is to facilitate the operations of the transport sector as the pandemic continues.On 25 February 2021, the Government decided that Finland would notify the Commission that it will not apply the following derogations nationally (Articles 3-5, 7 and 8 of the Regulation):– validity of driving licences– periodic checks of the tachograph and renewal of driver cards– periodic roadworthiness testing– Community licences for goods transport– driver attestations– licences for international passenger servicesThe long-term application of road transport derogations would have negative effects, e.g. on traffic safety. On the other hand, based on assessments by authorities and the round for comments, there have been no such difficulties in renewing driving licences and road transport licences that would justify the need for derogations.According to the decision now taken by the Government, the derogations laid down in the Regulation with respect to professional qualifications in road transport, rail transport and maritime safety would be applied at national level.The derogations from rules concerning inland waterway transport are not relevant for Finland, as the EU inland waterway transport rules mentioned in the Regulation are applied in Finland only in certain respects.The Government of the Province of Åland decided on 18 February 2021 that the Regulation would not be applied in the Province. Åland will not apply the derogation on professional qualifications in road transport, the validity of driving licences, periodic checks of tachographs, the renewal of driver cards, and the periodic roadworthiness tests of vehicles (Articles 2 to 5 of the Regulation). In this case, Åland will submit its own notification, which will be included as an annex to Finland’s notification.BackgroundThe EU Regulation enters into force in all Member States without national measures and is, by definition, directly applicable legislation. However, Member States may decide not to apply the exemptions contained in the Regulation.The Government submitted a government communication concerning the proposed Regulation to Parliament on 4 February 2021. Due to the urgency of the changes in the Regulation, the Government first submitted a report on the proposal to Parliament on 28 January 2021.Next stepsThe Regulation entered into force on the day following its release, i.e. 23 February 2021. Application of the Regulation will begin 11 days after this date of entry into force. Notification of the decision not to apply derogations to the Regulation must be made to the European Commission within eight days of the entry into force of the Regulation.


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