Bilateral road transport agreements between Switzerland-Germany and Switzerland-Italy

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Avizul CESE: Bilateral road transport agreements between Switzerland-Germany and Switzerland-Italy

Administrator: Agota BAZSIK

Assistant: Nadezhda SERTOVA

Foreseen for the TEN Section meeting: 11 September 2019
Foreseen for the EESC Plenary session: 25-26 September 2019

Gist of the Commission document

The border regions of Germany and Switzerland and the border regions of Italy and Switzerland are closely integrated and there is vibrant cross-border passenger traffic by road.

The two-way carriage of passengers and goods by road between Switzerland and the EU is regulated by the Land Transport Agreement between the EU and Switzerland (hereinafter 'EU Agreement'). According to Article 20(1) of the EU Agreement, "[t]ransport between two points situated on the territory of the same Contracting Party by carriers established in the territory of the other Contracting Party are not authorised under this Agreement". This means that the carriers operating the passenger services which cross the border can only carry passengers across the border or within the territory of the Contracting Party they are established in.

Regarding the border regions of Germany and Switzerland bus and coach operators established in Switzerland may not carry passengers between two points on the German side of the border and operators established in the EU may not carry passengers between two points on the Swiss side of the border.

The same is the case with the border regions of Italy and Switzerland: bus and coach operators established in Switzerland may not carry passengers between two points on the Italian side of the border and operators established in the EU may not carry passengers between two points on the Swiss side of the border.

Article 20(2) of the EU Agreement allows pre-existing rights under bilateral agreements concluded between individual EU Member States and Switzerland that were in force at the time of conclusion of the EU Agreement to continue to be exercised, provided there is no discrimination between EU carriers and no distortion of competition. Cabotage in passenger transport by coach and bus may thus be possible in relations with Switzerland in case an agreement between an EU Member State and Switzerland in force on 21 June 1999 had foreseen this. In practice, none of the relevant bilateral agreements between Member States and Switzerland that were in force at that time did foresee cabotage rights for passenger transport by coach and bus.

In May 2017, Germany informed the Commission that it would appreciate if the Union was to empower it in line with Article 2(1) TFEU to amend its bilateral road transport agreement with Switzerland of 1953 with a view to authorising cabotage operations during the provision of passenger transport services by coach and bus in the border region between the two countries.

In February 2018, Italy informed the Commission that it would like to negotiate and conclude an agreement with Switzerland which authorises cabotage operations during the provision of international passenger transport services by coach and bus in the border regions between the two countries.

In the June 2018 meeting of the EU-Switzerland Inland Transport Committee, established by the EU Agreement, Switzerland informed the Commission that it was also interested in amending its agreement with Germany and concluding an agreement with Italy.