EUROPEAN LICENCE AWAITS BULGARIAN CARRIERS
By year-end, Bulgarian carriers who travel on international routes will have to acquire a European licence in order to be allowed to keep operating once Bulgaria joins the European Union, the Ministry of Transport informed. The community requires that they prove the availability of EUR9,000 for the first truck and EUR5,000 for each of the following ones as well as their professional suitability and competence. Those who are unable to meet the financial stability requirements will keep transporting within the country until 2010 when they will have to meet the European requirements anyway. The term for relicensing the companies will be fixed when amendments to the Law on Car Transport are adopted. One of the most significant amendments is the one regulating the repose of the drivers. According to the European standards, a weekly limit for driving a vehicle should be set and it should not exceed 56 hours. The limit for two weeks will be 90 hours. After having driven for 4.5 hours, a driver will be obliged to take a rest of at least 45 minutes, or two 15-minute breaks.
It became clear in the meantime that the first 7,000 permissions for return cargo transportation to Turkey have been spent and transports to Armenia and Georgia have been blocked. Under the agreement with the Ankara-based government, in 2006 Bulgaria will receive a total number of 14,000 permissions. Currently, negotiations are being led for the launch of the documents from the second tranche plus another thousand of them. Transport Minister Petar Mutafchiev proposed that transports between the two countries be liberalised, but no official answer from Turkey has been received so far.