PRESS RELEASE: UNTRR video at the parking lot in Ruse: Bulgarian authorities defy the EU rules to keep Bulgaria out of Schengen area, and are in flagrant violation of the EU's basic principles of non-discrimination!! Romania should disconnect from Bulgaria in the process of accession to the Schengen area!
Last modified: 11.07.2023
UNTRR video at the parking lot in Ruse: Bulgarian authorities defy the EU rules to keep Bulgaria out of Schengen area, and are in flagrant violation of the EU's basic principles of non-discrimination!! Romania should disconnect from Bulgaria in the process of accession to the Schengen area!
The National Union of Road Hauliers from Romania (UNTRR) realized a video on the truck parking lot in Ruse, which was put into operation in June 2023, and which is near the border crossing point with Romania from Giurgiu. The UNTRR video can be watched on the UNTRR Youtube page, click here.
While the road transport industry calls for the elimination of controls at the Romanian-Bulgarian border crossing points and the creation of special lanes to facilitate the crossing of cars and trucks registered in Romania and Bulgaria, paradoxically, the Bulgarian authorities have supported the development of a private parking lot for trucks, on the land of the municipality of Ruse, which started operating from June of this year without any official announcement, without public and contact information on the web, email or media. In addition, in order to cross the border, Romanian drivers are obliged to park their trucks only in the parking spaces of this private operator, which applies discriminatory and excessive rates for Romanian trucks compared to Bulgarian ones. Upon entering the parking lot, each truck receives a pager that vibrates and rings to notify the driver 10 minutes before it is their turn to cross the border. When leaving the parking lot, Romanian drivers must pay a discriminatory rate of 25 Euros compared to Bulgarian drivers, who pay a rate 3-4 times lower, of only 15 Leva, approximately 7 Euros. Worth mentioning that parking fees are not linked to the time spent in the parking lot or the services received. In Europe, private parking lots charge 25 Euros for 12-24 hours of parking and various services offered to drivers – including a meal, in some cases, included in the parking price. Romanian transport operators claim that Bulgarian and Ukrainian trucks pass through Ruse with priority, sometimes even without entering this parking lot, and if they enter last, they are the first to leave before those who have been waiting for more than 24 hours.
This coordinated approach by the Bulgarian authorities violates EU principles and regulations that prohibit differential and discriminatory charging of road transport operators based on nationality.
In the absence of any measures, this practice will expand and the border authorities will create waiting times as long as possible to justify the establishment of such parking lots and such abusive and discriminatory practices, contrary to the objectives of increasing the fluidity of the movement of various means of transport within the EU, established by Regulation (EC) No 1100/2008 on the elimination of controls performed at the frontiers of Member States in the field of road transport. Thus, according to European legislation, the controls on the weights and dimensions of trucks are not carried out as border controls, but only as part of the usual control procedures applied in a non-discriminatory manner throughout the territory of a member state, and vehicles can be subjected, as regards the common standards for weight, for spot checks and, as regards the common standards for dimensions, exclusively for checks in case of suspected non-compliance with its provisions.
Regrettably, the actions of the Bulgarian authorities are contrary to the statements of collaboration with the Romanian authorities for the urgent accession of the two countries to the Schengen area.
Instead of taking steps to simplify commercial vehicle controls at the border in order to streamline traffic and reduce waiting times with the aim of eliminating these controls before joining the Schengen area, the Bulgarian authorities have done everything possible to increase waiting times at the Romanian-Bulgarian border crossing point from Giurgiu-Ruse. In 2022, there were frequent situations in which Romanian truck drivers waited three days to cross this border point.
UNTRR considers that the actions of the Bulgarian authorities, through the obligation to use this parking lot and the differentiated charging, represent a discrimination that cannot exist on the territory of the European Union.
If Bulgaria continues these practices, then we believe that Romania must disconnect from Bulgaria in order to join the Schengen area, having nothing to lose in the relationship with Bulgaria, where the border crossing times are increasing anyway, but Romania can gain by elimination of waiting times at the border with Hungary, this border through which more than 90% of the foreign trade realized by Romania with EU countries is carried out by road transport.
UNTRR will continue to report these issues to the members of the Romanian Parliament, the European Parliament, the relevant Bulgarian authorities, including those from the field of competition, until this situation is resolved.
The National Union of Road Hauliers from Romania (UNTRR) is an employers' and professional organization founded in 1990 on democratic principles, which promotes and protects nationally and internationally the interests of Romanian operators performing road transport of passengers and goods, recording from its foundation to the present over 16,000 members - operators carrying out domestic and international freight transport and passengers.