More road blocks in Belgium over the new truck toll system – protestors want only transit trucks to pay the new charges, especially those from the East.
Also, official licence scam blamed for Bulgaria’s dire road safety record. Man fined thousands after driving 200km in damaged Lamborghini. Upswing in number of migrants found at Hoek van Holland.
BELGIUM BLOCKADE TRUCKS WANT TOLL EXEMPTION
Road blocks resume after quiet weekend.
Belgian truckers currently blocking roads across the south of the country want to be exempted from the new truck toll scheme.
After a relatively quiet weekend, truckers are again blocking the E411 Brussels-Luxembourg road in two places, and the E42 border crossing between Lille and Charleroi – plus a list of other, national roads (see this interactive map).
Truck driver @Geordie_driver, currently caught up in the blockade on E411 at Habay, says local police think the blocks might be lifted at 18:00 ‘if it is successful’.
By ‘successful’, the hauliers apparently mean that the toll will no longer apply to domestic firms.
‘They want transiting hauliers to pay,’ says @Geordie_Driver, ‘To stop the influx of our “comrades” from the east.’
Alleged unfair competition from Eastern Europe is a hot topic on the Continent currently.
French union OTRE is organising a national day of action on the issue this Saturday (9 April).
Meanwhile, Belgian truck federations TLV and FEBETRA have called for the blockades to be lifted immediately.
In a joint statement they say the protests are just holding their colleagues to ransom.
The introduction of the new Belgian truck toll caused widespread ‘chaos’ across the country on Friday, with road blocks on E411 and long queues at the border as drivers tried to register for increasingly scarce OBU On-Board Units.
However, the situation was much calmer on Saturday, leading some to think the worst had passed, see more.
roundup: BULGARIA. Suspected corruption at the national transport agency is linked to the country’s dire road safety record last year reports Novinite. More than a dozen employees of the Road Transport Administration Executive Agency were arrested last week, including the boss, in raids around the country. It is alleged that licences were ‘improperly’ issued to car drivers and road transport companies. After a meeting of relevant ministers on Friday, the government ordered a ‘validity check’ for driving licences, and issued a statement blaming the alleged malpractice for the country coming bottom of EU road safety tables last year. Along with neighbouring Romania, Bulgaria recorded 95 deaths per million inhabitants in 2015, an increase of 4 percent on 2014. CROSSING THE CHANNEL. There has been a definite upswing in the numbers of migrants found at the Hoek van Holland ferry terminal in the Netherlands. In January and February, 150 migrants were picked up at Hoek compared to 450 for the whole of last year. Security at Dutch ports has been criticised as a ‘wave’ of migrants apparently moves north from Calais and Zeebrugge. However, police deny there is a problem. A spokesman tells DutchNews.nl, ‘It is not true. We check everyone who comes through here, and we check lorries based on the intelligence reports we get from several sources. Nor have we seen any real increase in numbers since Calais was closed last month.’