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EU Transport Ministers hold a video conference on the impact of COVID-19 on the transport

18.03.2020

The Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Rossen Jeliazkov presented the Bulgarian position during today's video conference of the Council of the EU Transport Ministers on the impact of COVID-19 over the sector. According to his words, in the field of Road Transport, Bulgaria fully supports the harmonized approach and the guidelines for management of the border control, presented by the Commission.

He pointed out that temporary derogations from the application of certain provisions of Regulation 561/2006, such as the removal of weekend bans, as well as the ban on sleeping in the cabins, would allow avoiding blocking of trucks in areas of quarantine.

"Bulgaria supports the measures for reducing of the movement of people, but it is important that we maintain our national economies and the European Single Market. For Bulgaria, which is located at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and the Middle East, it is important to guarantee the supply of goods and the free movement of transit traffic to the Middle East through Turkey. We believe that in order to avoid unexpected obstacles during the transit of freight flows through the border crossings, it is necessary that Member States notify in advance, in a reasonable frame of time, about the measures envisaged by them in regards to the heavy goods vehicles", said Rossen Jeliazkov. He addressed the European Commission with the request to evaluate the possibilities free movement of goods by vehicles up to 3.5 tones.

Minister Rossen Jeliazkov proposed to create a specific online link on the website of the European Commission, through which to continue to collect and provide up-to-date information.

During the discussions, it became clear that Bulgaria supports the imposing of restrictions on organized international bus travel. All Bulgarian citizens who plan to travel by car to European countries are informed about the serious travel difficulties they may encounter due to the restrictions imposed by each EU Member State.

"Bulgaria supports the recent Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative proposed by the Commission for encouraging investments by mobilizing available financial amount reserves within the European Structural and Investment Funds. Our economy and the transport sector in particular will seize this opportunity to start immediately the fight against the crisis and to prepare for recovery," the Minister said.

In the field of Aviation, Member States endorsed the initiative for amendment to the rules for the allocation of slots by airlines at European airports and the swift adoption of the act. Several delegations requested to cover the entire summer operation period, which expires at the end of October 2020. The interconnection and continuity of freights by air transport and the equal treatment of air carriers are encouraged. The Commission emphasized the urgent procedure for adopting of the measures, informing that the deadlines could be adapted by means of delegated acts. The European Commission informed as well that it has also adopted guidelines on the rights of air passengers. It is also working on a temporary framework for financial assistance with the European Aviation Safety Agency.

In the field of Maritime Transport, it was recalled that the measures taken do not affect freight transport. The flexible rules on the extension of seafarers' certificates were supported. Transport Ministers also discussed the creation of a COVID-19 profile for vessels sailing in ЕU waters.