| BRUSSELS, June 16
BRUSSELS, June 16 The European Commission on
Thursday challenged a French law that requires foreign truck
drivers to be paid France's minimum wage when they make
deliveries in the country, saying this hampers the functioning
of the EU's internal market.
The Commission has already said a similar requirement for
Germany's minimum wage to apply to truck drivers crossing into
the country is illegal.
Truck companies from Eastern Europe, where wages are lower,
have taken a big share of the trans-European road freight
business, prompting complaints from hauliers in higher-wage
But many EU countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, have
also complained that the French and German laws throw up
unjustified barriers to cross-border road transport.
The French law, due to come into force on July 1, requires
foreign transport companies to pay their drivers the French
minimum wage when they make deliveries in France and to appoint
a representative there.
The French minimum wage is 9.67 euros per hour, more than
many earn in the Eastern European trucking industry.
Germany introduced a minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($9.54) an
hour last year and would apply that to any employee working
within German borders, whether or not the worker or the employer
is based in Germany.
That prompted a legal challenge from the Commission which
argued that it ran counter to the EU treaty guaranteeing the
freedom to provide services.
The Commission said in a statement on Thursday that the
French and German cases could not be justified, as it created
disproportionate administrative barriers, which prevented the
internal market from functioning properly.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that the Commission would
challenge the French and German laws.
The Commission will seek to clarify how truck drivers making
international deliveries should be paid through legislation next
Paris and Berlin have two months to find an agreement with
the Commission, failing which the case could eventually end up
($1 = 0.8913 euros)
(Reporting by Julia Fioretti. Editing by Jane Merriman)