Dispute over planned EU driving license rules is coming to a head
Again there is a fuss about planned EU driving license rules: a French Green MP is encountering resistance with suggestions such as night driving bans for novice drivers. Criticism also comes from Berlin.
A proposal for stricter EU driving license rules have sparked heated debates in the EU Parliament. This is about a proposal by the French Green MP Karima Delli, according to which there should be a speed limit of 90 kilometers per hour outside of cities, for example for novice drivers. Delli also wants medical tests to become mandatory to ensure the “physical and mental fitness” of drivers. This has met with clear criticism from German EU representatives – including from the Greens.
Headwind from Germany
Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) made it clear on Wednesday: “It is clear that Germany will not agree to the proposals in this form.” In order to further improve the safety of novice drivers, Germany is relying on driving licenses from the age of 17 and accompanied driving. Wissing said his house firmly rejects the introduction of mandatory health tests.
“Ms. Delli’s proposals are a single ban program. She rails against individual mobility,” said CDU MEP Jens Gieseke on Wednesday. One of the things he criticizes about the proposal is that novice drivers could be banned from driving at night in the future and that they would not be allowed to drive vehicles weighing more than 1.8 tonnes.
Many vans that are used for moving, for example, would be taboo. “As the CDU and CSU, we do not support such nonsense,” said Gieseke. EU MP Jan-Christoph Oetjen (FDP) emphasized: “We as Free Democrats will do everything we can to ensure that these nonsensical proposals do not make it into the legal text.”
Concerns from the Greens
Headwinds came not only from political competition. The German Green MEP Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg also criticized her party colleague. “We as the German Greens expressed strong concerns from a German perspective right from the start,” said the transport politician. It is problematic to try to remedy deficiencies in safety standards and climate policy through the driving license directive.
A spokesman for the Greens made it clear in the evening: “The ideas mentioned do not reflect the position of the German Greens, nor of the German Greens in the European Parliament.”
The transport policy spokesman for the SPD MEPs, Thomas Rudner, also has little regard for his French counterpart’s proposals: It is contradictory to reduce the weight limit for class B car driving licenses to 1.8 tonnes, but at the same time 17 tonnes. Year-olds were allowed to drive a 40-ton truck because there were no truck drivers. “That makes no sense at all and could potentially be life-threatening!”
Vote in the Transport Committee
According to information from the EU Parliament, the Transport Committee will vote on the proposals in December. It is questionable whether the French MP Delli will find a majority for her proposals. The revision of the driving license requirements is based on a proposal from the EU Commission in March.
The European Parliament, which is also involved in the legislation, is currently exploring its position on the issue, but the governments of the EU states must also ultimately agree to new rules. According to the SPD, it is planned that a final vote on new rules could be held in parliament in March.