Electronic Freight Transport Regulation

How new EU regulations are imposed without democratic input.

The EU has a process for generating regulations; the linked document shows the process in great detail.

Proposal for a


on electronic freight transport information

( https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/3rd-mobility-pack/com20180279-proposal.pdf )


In this follow-up post we look at some of the details of the process and how propaganda and deceit are involved in imposing such a regulation without it seeming to be an imposition. We’ve shown (see Electronic Freight Transport Information) how such a regulation could remove the need for a permanent backstop.

This regulation (however worthy), although proposed by the Commission, is presented in the names of the Parliament and the Council, presuming their approval and disguising its origin. It is also made in disregard of EU treaty requirements for subsidiarity and proportionality (though they pretend otherwise). Deceit overrules.

In relation to Union legislation regulating the conditions of transport on the territory of the Union, this proposal does not amend existing provisions in existing relevant legal acts, but rather seeks to ensure…a uniform legal framework for the acceptance…of electronic information.

Regulation-1So that’s all right, it’s not a new regulation, just an extension of existing regulations. And yet the detailed proposal is clearly a new regulation to overcome the limitations of the existing regulations:

“…binding, regulatory measures are necessary to achieve the objectives. A regulation is the more appropriate instrument to ensure uniform implementation of the measures envisaged.”

Then some more propaganda to show that the proposal is consistent “with other Union policies”:

The general objective of the initiative is to enable wider use of digital technologies to contribute to: (i) removing barriers to the smooth functioning of the single market; (ii) the modernisation of the economy; and (iii) the greater efficiency of the transport sector.” This may seem reasonable but of course they won’t acknowledge that one beneficial outcome of this regulation would be to enable them to renegotiate the UK withdrawal agreement with more favourable terms, because they would not want the UK to be free of the customs union and its dreadful implications.

But they do feel some sort of need to justify the legal basis in relation to subsidiarity and proportionality:

Unilateral initiatives by Member States to facilitate the uptake of electronic transport documents and information exchange would have limited effect if similar action was not taken in other Member States whose territory is also concerned by the transport operations in question.”

StakeholdersAnd, being ‘democratic’ the EU consulted relevant stakeholders and reports that: “respondents to the targeted surveys and interviews highlighted that the main reason why businesses do not accept electronic documents is uncertainty as to whether the authorities will accept them.” Thus establishing a clear need for new regulation (even if they hadn’t thought of it first). We wonder what they mean by “targeted surveys” and feel sure that they were confident that the targets would give them the required responses.

As for where the competence should lie:

The most appropriate level to address the problem and its drivers is therefore the EU level, where a uniform approach to the acceptance of electronic documents, and common standards for this, can be set. In that respect, this initiative takes further and complements measures already taken at EU level to ensure uniform conditions for acceptance of electronic freight transport information and documents…”

You see, everything must be uniform and divergence must be eliminated—by fiat:

To address the main problem driver, namely the diverging and limitedly specified current legal framework, this proposal contains measures to:

(1) ensure the establishment, in all EU Member States, of the obligation of acceptance of electronic freight transport documents/information by all relevant public authorities;

(2) ensure that the authorities implement the obligation of acceptance in a uniform manner

Uniformity-3Uniformity may be useful in this case but it is representative of the pro forma approach to new regulations, which don’t always need to be imposed uniformly, except that to the bureaucratic mind that’s always the best answer.

But they are only acting in proportion to what is needed:

None of these measures go beyond what is necessary to address the problems.”

So they have covered all bases; competence belongs at the federal level because, “90% of the private companies and associations responding to the OPC indicated the non-acceptance of electronic transport documents/information by Member State authorities as a significant driver of the problem.”

This is the EU way: we’ll impose this our way but we’ll make sure that it doesn’t look like an imposition.

The proposal is based on fact-finding and consultation with experts, particularly for the estimates of costs and benefits, including modelling of the indirect effects and modal shift impact. External consultants prepared a support study on costs and impacts.” Passing responsibility to their experts.

They even offer four options in this case, but make sure that number three is to be selected, just to be on the safe side: “Option 3 was the preferred policy option on the basis of which this proposal has been developed.” (emphasis in the original)

All options contained, for the most part, the same set of policy measures. These measures could be implemented either in non-binding form, as support measures promoting voluntary action by the Member States, or regulatory form, such as the adoption of a new dedicated EU legal act and the signature of bilateral agreements with third countries.”

Don’t you just love, “such as”? We do, because it hints that there really is an option. But anything voluntary is out because decisions belong upstairs (actually in this case we agree; it’s just the method that appals us).Take it or Leave it-1

With this EU the option is, ‘take-it’ or ‘leave-it’ (if you dare). The UK has chosen to leave it, at least the majority of its voting citizens have.


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