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Non EU-countries

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

In road transport, there are two agreements of note:

  • 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 access to the contracting parties’ transport markets. Regarding road transport, EC hauliers and Swiss hauliers are already free to carry out transport operations between a Member State and Switzerland and vice versa. Almost half of all goods transport by road between the EU and third countries is 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 of liberalising its rail transport market by enacting the EU’s rail liberalisation packages.


Alpine Traffic Observatory

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

2014 Annual Report covering the year 2013

2013 Annual Report covering the year 2012

2012 Annual Report covering the year 2011

2011 Annual Report covering the year 2010

2010 Annual Report covering the year 2009

2009 Annual Report covering the year 2008

2008 Annual Report covering the year 2007


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 like 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

As regards passenger transport, the INTERBUS agreement covers occasional services between the EU and Ukraine, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYROM, Montenegro and Moldova. In December 2014, the Council has given a mandate to the Commission to negotiate an extension of the scope of the agreement to cover also regular services, and to find ways allowing Morocco to become a Member.

The agreement provides for a harmonised regulatory framework to facilitate passenger services between 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 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 contracting parties in 2010.

See also the UN-EC website