Germany: French President Emmanuel Macron Meets Angela Merkel In Berlin

The FTA has called on France’s new president Emmanuel Macron to reverse his predecessor’s decision to charge a €40 (£34) driver fee.

The fee, set to come into force next January, targets "posted workers". These are defined as EU workers operating outside of their own country on a temporary basis and employed by a foreign company.

The fee will be used to maintain a database that will handle all documents required by French authorities for posted workers – including drivers.

The FTA condemned the measure as a restrictive practice this week, warning that it will “severely curtail” the ability of UK logistics operators to work effectively on the continent.

Pauline Bastidon, FTA’s head of European policy, said: “The fee of €40 per driver is excessive and, is a protectionist measure designed to close the French transport market to any operator established outside of France.

“It will disproportionately increase the cost of operating in France and could have negative consequences for international transport to and from the country,” adding, "the charge is nothing more than a protectionist tax benefitting the domestic French market, and is one that our members wholeheartedly oppose”.

The FTA has also called for the EU to speed up its legal challenge to France’s decision last year to require foreign truck drivers to be paid the French minimum wage and to appoint a representative in France.

“The FTA is calling on the European Commission to react strongly and speed up its ongoing legal case against France, to ensure that trade can continue to flow across borders in a seamless manner and to protect the integrity of the single market.

“Mr Macron’s French government will have the power to reverse this decision, and we urge him to do so, to ensure that the EU’s trading routes remain open and frictionless to all operators,” Bastidon added.

The EU is looking at introducing specific rules for posted workers in the transport sector to ensure free movement of goods across the EU. These proposals are expected to be released on 31 May. However Bastion added the adoption of these specific rules could take years, leaving UK international hauliers exposed in the interim.

Image: Press Association