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Brussels, 5th June 2008

Training of professional drivers: Commission takes Portugal and Greece to Court of Justice

The European Commission today decided to launch proceedings in the European Court of Justice against Portugal and Greece for failing to transpose the Directive on the training of professional drivers and to notify measures for its implementation. This Directive provides for compulsory initial qualification and periodic training of drivers of road vehicles for the carriage of goods or passengers.

Directive 2003/59/EC[1] was adopted to ensure that professional drivers have a minimum level of training in order to comply with the requirements of today's road transport market. Under the agreement reached by Member States when it was adopted, this Directive should have been written into national law by 10 September 2006. Although the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Portugal and Greece in June 2007 asking them to do this, no appropriate national measures have been taken to comply with the Directive.

Under the Directive, Member States should set up a system of qualification according to one of two options: a system based on coursework and a test, or a system based on a test only.

Periodic training is to be organised by approved training centres. Each driver has to undergo 35 hours of training every five years. Drivers are to be issued with a professional aptitude certificate showing that they have gained the initial qualification or undergone the subsequent periodic training. Member States have to apply these arrangements from 10 September 2008 for drivers of passenger vehicles and from 10 September 2009 for goods vehicle drivers.

[1] Directive 2003/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2003 on the initial qualification and periodic training of drivers of certain road vehicles for the carriage of goods or passengers (OJ L 226, 10.9.2003).

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