Written question to the Commission on the topic of “Alarming situation in the port of Calais”

Written question to the Commission on the topic of “Alarming situation in the port of Calais”

2015. 10. 09.

Written question to the Commission: P-010733/2015
Article Nr. 130.

In recent weeks, the situation in the French port of Calais has worsened and aid workers are warning of ‘catastrophic’ scenes. In the first six months of 2015 nearly 7 500 migrants — double the number of last year — were caught trying to sneak onto lorries and boats, often risking their safety and even lives. Moreover, around 4 000 migrants in a refugee camp close to Calais will also try to make their way across the Channel using this method. Drivers are basically afraid for their lives as migrants attack both them and their lorries in order to sneak into Great Britain. They break the locked doors of the lorries or jump inside. The lorry drivers are helpless; they are unable to defend themselves, their lorries or their load. Many of them already refuse to transport goods to Great Britain or to use the Calais port.

1. What steps does the Commission plan to take to tackle this phenomenon and to guarantee the secure and free movement of goods and services within the EU?

2. In the light of their worsened working conditions, what measures does the Commission intend to take to ensure the health and safety of lorry drivers?

Answer Nr. E-011308-15 of Commissioner Violeta Bulc

Lorry drivers have a right to the same high level of protection and safety in their workplace as any other worker. The situation for lorry drivers is peculiar, however, in that they do not have a specific, physical workplace, their workplace instead being the European road network. This makes it particularly necessary for there to be common European solutions in order to ensure a secure and safe working environment on the European road network. In view of this, several measures have been taken at both European and national level to ensure a safe working environment with a high level of protection for individual drivers.

Threats to a safe working environment for drivers on European roads are constantly evolving, however, and the latest development is that illegal migrants are sneaking onto lorries as stowaways to be transported through Europe.

Can the Commission state, from a working environment perspective, what measures it will take to counter the new threats to safety for drivers operating on the European road network in order to ensure that lorry drivers have the same degree of protection in their workplace as all other European workers?