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Non EU-countries

While road transport within the EU is harmonized and thus based on common EU rules, road transport between the EU and non-EU countries (third countries) is still largely based on bilateral agreements between the individual Member States and the third countries. However, with certain countries the EU has concluded agreements which take precedence over the bilateral agreements.

In road transport there are two agreements to be mentioned:

  • the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA Agreement) as regards transport with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein
  • the Agreement between the EU and Switzerland on land transport.

Both agreements provide for the application of the road acquis in the respective countries.

The land transport agreement with Switzerland

Switzerland The EC/Switzerland land transport agreement covers goods and passenger transport by road and by rail. It entered into force on 1 July 2002 and aims to fully liberalise the access to the contracting parties’ transport markets. As concerns the road transport, EC hauliers and Swiss hauliers are already free to carry out transports between a Member State and Switzerland and vice versa. Almost half of all road goods transport of the EU with third countries is carried out with Switzerland. Under the terms of the Agreement Switzerland also abolished its weight restrictions for heavy goods vehicles: since January 2005 the maximum permissible weight in Switzerland is 40 tonnes (the same as in the EU). Also, the Agreement provided for the introduction of the Swiss distance based heavy vehicles road charge. Regarding rail, Switzerland has taken on the obligation to liberalise its rail transport market by enacting the EU’s rail liberalisation packages.

Alpine Traffic Observatory

This Observatory has been set up jointly with Switzerland to collect data and prepare reports on goods transport by road and by rail across the Alps.

2013 Annual Report covering the year 2012 pdf - 5 MB [5 MB]

2012 Annual Report covering the year 2011 pdf - 5 MB [5 MB]

2011 Annual Report covering the year 2010 pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]

2010 Annual Report covering the year 2009 pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]

2009 Annual Report covering the year 2008 pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]

2008 Annual Report covering the year 2007 pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]

The EEA Agreement

The Agreement on the European Economic Area basically extends the EU internal market to Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. As regards road transport this entails that these three countries apply the EU road transport rules just as the EU Member States. Annex XIII of the EEA Agreement contains the EU transport acquis and is regularly updated by decisions of the EEA Joint Committee.

Interbus agreement

BusAs regards passenger transport the INTERBUS agreement covers occasional services between the EU and Ukraine, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYROM, Montenegro and Moldova. The Commission has proposed to amend the agreement and adopted a recommendation to Council, which is under discussion.

The agreement provides for a harmonised regulatory framework to facilitate passenger services betweens these countries.

AETR agreement

The AETR agreement concerns the work of crews of vehicles engaged in international road transport. The agreement covers 49 contracting parties including all EU Member States. Its provisions are aligned with the current EU legislation on driving times, breaks and rest periods. In 2006 the AETR agreement was amended in order to introduce the use of the digital tachograph, which became mandatory for the contracting parties in 2010.

See also the UN-EC website