The president of FruitVegetablesEUROPE (Eucofel), and PROEXPORT (Association of Producers-Exporters of Fruit and Vegetables of the Region of Murcia), Juan Marín Bravo, has transferred to the president of the European Commission, Úrsula Von der Leyen, his “profound “Concern about the negative impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on the transport of perishable food by road, particularly on fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Marín has claimed in a letter sent to the EU today that the application of Article 14.2 of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 on driving times, breaks and rest periods for drivers engaged in the freight transport by road, in order to harmonize the conditions of competition between the modes of land transport.
This article states: “In urgent cases, Member States may grant a temporary exception for a period not exceeding 30 days, which shall be notified immediately to the Commission.” In this way, Member States can deal with situations that present exceptional and sudden circumstances that are inevitable and cannot be foreseen, in which it is unexpectedly impossible to apply the provisions of the Regulation in its entirety for a short period of time.
As Marín has detailed in the letter sent to the European Commission, “the effects caused by the spread of Covid-19 constitute these exceptional circumstances, which are having an impact on mobility and transport in the EU.”
For this reason, it has asked the President of the Commission to transfer the measures contemplated in the resolution of March 16, 2020, from the Government of Spain to the EU as a whole, which provides for the following: temporarily exonerating the freight transport operations affected by these circumstances of compliance with the rules established in articles 6.1 and 8.6 of Regulation No. 561/2006; and the exceptions provided in the first section will apply to drivers who carry out cargo operations throughout the national territory (Spain). These exemptions will be applicable from March 14, 2020 to March 28, 2020, both included.
In this sense, FruitVegetablesEUROPE has requested that the EU and the Member States also apply Article 14.2, as the Spanish Government has done, and also take exceptional measures to ensure that perishable food continues to flow in the EU internal market, “As it is the only way to prevent a shortage of fresh food, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables in the EU.” Only with the coordination of these measures at the European level will it be possible to organize the vehicle returns necessary to guarantee circulation throughout the Community territory.