Already in the first days of its mandate, the Bulgarian government made road safety one of the important priorities of its work. This was stated in Brussels by the Minister of Transport and Communications, Georgi Gvozdeikov, during today's meeting of the Council of the European Union on Transport, Telecommunications and Energy, "Transport" format.
"We highly appreciate the new provisions in the Directive on driving licenses regarding the minimum standards for physical and mental fitness," stated Minister Georgi Gvozdeikov. The proposed texts of the Directive provide for a clearer description of the verification of physical and mental fitness to drive before the issuance and renewal of driving licences. It is possible to introduce mechanisms at the national level to oblige the driver to inform about a change in his medical condition or physical and mental fitness, not only when reissuing or renewing a driving license.
Bulgaria also supported the proposals for changes to the Directive to facilitate the cross-border exchange of information on traffic violations. "Increasing the efficiency in the payment of fines for traffic violations will have a preventive effect and will further contribute to the achievement of the set goals for increasing road safety. The Bulgarian side supports the proposed texts, which we consider to be well-balanced," the transport minister pointed out. He added that mutual assistance between the member states is of great importance for limiting the number of traffic violations and achieving the common goals of reducing victims of traffic accidents.
Minister Georgi Gvozdeikov emphasized that the Bulgarian side has a more critical reading of the texts regarding driving and rest time for occasional passenger transport. "We support the improvement of control activities, but we believe that the envisaged additional requirements will lead to a disproportionate administrative burden." In order to achieve a better balance in the texts, it is appropriate to lower the threshold for using the derogation (Article 8). It should correspond to the average duration of one random passenger transport of 4 days," said Georgi Gvozdeikov.
The ministers also discussed the proposal for a Regulation on the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from transport services. During the meeting, changes to the Directive on the maximum permissible dimensions in national and international traffic of certain road vehicles were considered.
Changes to the Port State Control Directive and the Directive laying down the basic principles governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector were also discussed. On these topics, the Bulgarian position is in full sync with the European one.
During the talks, Minister Georgi Gvozdeykov pointed out that in order to strengthen connectivity and overcome the various geostrategic challenges, an increase in the budget of the Connecting Europe Mechanism is necessary, especially in the area of military mobility.
"The construction of a network of intermodal cross-border infrastructure is part of Bulgaria's efforts to improve connectivity in the north-south direction. An important project for the realization of this goal is the construction of a new bridge over the Danube River near Ruse," stated Georgi Gvozdeikov. He also highlighted the key role of Corridor 8 for the inclusion of the Western Balkans to the EU and for the construction of an important transport link between the Black and Adriatic seas. "In the course of the revision of the TEN-T Regulation, the preservation of Corridor 8 as part of the European transport corridor "Western Balkans/Eastern Mediterranean" should be guaranteed," added Minister Georgi Gvozdeikov.