Monday, October 18, 2021

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Written by By Jenny Nava, CNN

A top head of the European motor transport union, which represents 35,000 truck drivers , has dashed hopes of an imminent solution to the continent’s transport logjam.

Deadlock over cross-border regulations meant that freight lines across Europe were abandoned for most of this week, causing delays across the continent.

Speaking to CNN on the side of the Hungarian-Serbian border on Thursday, Konrad Wilczek , secretary general of the European Transport Workers’ Federation, said the negotiations had yielded no results yet.

“The commission is not fair in these negotiations,” Wilczek said. “They wanted a step-by-step approach and then only would give concessions, and we are not going that way.

“We want a systematic step-by-step approach — something like they do in the United States — where you go step by step.

“We all know that we have thousands of trucks stuck on the German-Swiss border for 11 days. Everyone knows that.”

This obstruction has put the Europe’s free trade agenda at risk, Wilczek added.

“(The trucking crisis) is affecting consumers too: Most of us are watching Spanish soccer matches or Argentinean football matches while waiting for the trains, and it has become the most expensive way to travel.”

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, admitted on Monday that action was needed to relieve congestion after truck lines were stranded for three days at the Austrian-German border.

Efficiency measures, such as better training of truck drivers and longer working hours on foreign-owned haulage companies have also been suggested as potential solutions.

In a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday, Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said the traffic gridlock had “put the EU’s trade policy in jeopardy.”

“If we do not take significant progress in negotiations, thousands of trucks will remain stuck on the roads with a cost to both the EU and the suppliers,” he said.

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