Merkel urged to scrap driver regulations

The world road transport organisation IRU, has urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to remove new COVID restrictions on lorry drivers amid fears for their health and the global supply chain.

The organisation has written an open letter to Ms Merkel expressing its view that Germany’s refusal to exempt professional truck drivers from mandatory COVID-19 testing breaks its previous commitments on EU “green lanes” and the free movement of goods, and moreover does not help curb the virus.

It fears the decision will prompt other countries and regions to copy Germany’s restrictions to prevent thousands of drivers being stuck on their own territory, bringing supply chains to a halt.

“Truck drivers, alone in their cabin and working to strict hygiene measures, pose little risk to the spread of the virus,” said IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto. “Making them queue for hours in sub-zero temperatures at makeshift test centres on the side of the road without proper physical distance control however is not only pointless, it is dangerous.”

The IRU said Germany’s unilateral decision is blocking the free movement of goods, affecting supply chains across the EU. Supermarkets, hospitals, and factories will soon see supply issues across Europe and beyond.

“Germany was long an anchor for free trade across Europe’s single market. We implore Chancellor Merkel to recognise the damage that her government’s decision is now causing, especially to her neighbouring countries, and to immediately exempt truck drivers from mandatory COVID-19 testing so they can do their job and keep supply chains moving.” added Mr de Pretto.

“Germany’s place should once again be at the heart of a Europe that is united in fighting the pandemic, not causing chaos with short sighted and pointless border restrictions,” he concluded.