Clearer rules for the use of hired lorries – Council agrees its position

Today, the Council agreed on a general approach on revised rules for the use of hired vehicles for goods transport.

The revision aims to clarify the current rules, ensure a uniform regulatory framework and ease the restrictions on the use of such vehicles. With more flexibility to hire vehicles, transport operators will be able to carry out their activities more efficiently. In addition, hired vehicles tend to be newer, safer and less polluting.

These revised rules will make it easier for transport operators to rent a lorry if their own vehicle breaks down or if they need an extra vehicle to meet temporary demand. A harmonised framework will make life easier for hauliers, rental companies and national authorities alike.

Pedro Nuno Santos, Portuguese Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, President of the Council

Under the Council’s position on the revised directive, member states will not be allowed to restrict the use on their territory of a vehicle hired by a company established in another member state, provided that the relevant registration and other rules in that member state are complied with.

As the level of road transport tax varies considerably within the EU, member states will still be able to restrict, within certain limits, the use of vehicles hired in another member state by their own companies.

Documents in electronic format are to be recognised as proof of compliance with the directive.

To improve enforcement and control illegal cabotage, competent authorities will have to record the registration numbers of vehicles hired from another member state in their national electronic registers.

EU countries will have to incorporate the new provisions into their legislation by 21 August 2023. This corresponds to a three-year period from the entry into force of the first Mobility Package’s revised rules on access to the market and access to the profession, so that the timelines for putting in place the additional control measures required by both these laws are aligned.


The proposal on hired vehicles is part of the first Mobility Package, presented by the Commission in May 2017 to make transport cleaner, more competitive and socially fair.

The general approach approved today enables the presidency to launch negotiations with the European Parliament. Both the Council and the Parliament will need to agree on the final text.

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