Transport ministers from the European Union's member states are today (20 December) likely to reject a European Commission proposal to extend requirements for periodic vehicle safety tests for scooters, motorbikes and light trailers. The changes are part of an effort to harmonise EU vehicle safety tests and ease mutual recognition.
The ministers will also reject a Commission proposal to increase the minimum frequency of checks for older cars and light commercial vehicles from every two years to every year, opting instead to maintain the current rules. Member states also want to change the legal form from a regulation, as proposed by the Commission, to a directive, in order to take into account differing circumstances in member states.
The Commission had aimed to use the opportunity to require more frequent testing. Member states, by contrast, want to restrict the scope to harmonisation and mutual recognition, and will give their support to harmonisation of requirements for testing standards and equipment. The legislation will also provide for the mutual recognition of member states' roadworthiness certificates, and administrative co-operation on roadworthiness tests will be enhanced.
The legislation is part of a ‘roadworthiness package' proposed by the Commission in July that aims to harmonise EU vehicle safety tests. It also includes legislation covering roadside inspections. The European Parliament will vote on the issue in May.
A spokesperson for the Commission said that taking out the provisions for increased checks was not acceptable. “All the statistics show that motorbike users are the most vulnerable group of road users, and older cars are the highest risk in terms of causing accidents,” she said. “To water-down proposals that are designed to save lives seems very short-sighted.”
Transport ministers will also adopt a position on guidelines for EU external aviation policy. They are expected to call on the Commission for fairer arrangements with non-EU countries with better reciprocity arrangements. There has been particular concern about access to Russian airspace. Ministers will also authorise the signing of an aviation agreement between the EU and Israel.