Transport workers and unions rally for democracy: ETF protests European Commission’s attempt to force public transport liberalisation

21 Feb 2023

Over 100 transport workers from 10 countries and their unions will take a stand for democracy to defend public transport this 28 February in front of the European Parliament.

On 28 February, the European Transport Federation (ETF) will take action in Brussels to protest the European Commission’s undemocratic attempt to force the liberalisation of public transport by rail and road behind the backs of the Council and the European Parliament.

The European Commission is trying to bypass the Council and the European Parliament and push their powers to the limit of their competency:

According to an EU regulation on Public Service Obligation (PSO), up to 2023 and beyond, competent authorities in each EU Member State can choose to award rail and road public service directly to their own operators or by way of competitive tendering.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG) wants to go against these rules and make competitive tendering the norm in a desperate push for more liberalisation of public transport services. How? By adopting interpretative guidelines to the regulation on which no involvement of the Council or European Parliament is required. In other words, the European Commission reinvents the rules behind the backs of the EU Institutions that adopted the EU rules in the first place.

For the past year, the ETF, employers’ organisations in rail and road, Member States and the European Parliament have been opposing the European Commission’s unlawful attempts.

On 2 March, at the repeated invitation of the European Parliament’s TRAN Committee, the European Commission will finally attend the committee meeting to provide an explanation and present the draft guidelines in question.

Two days ahead of this, the ETF will be staging an action to call on the European Commission to respect the EU’s democratic decision-making process and cease abuse of powers.

Practical Information

When: Tuesday, February 28, from 2 PM

Where: Place du Luxembourg, Brussels – In front of the European Parliament

Who: The ETF and over 100 trade unionists and transport workers from 10 EU countries.

MEPs Andreas Schieder, Agnes Jongerius, Ciarán Cuffe  and Vera Tax will be speaking to address the unions and transport workers present. ETF’s leaders, Frank Moreels, ETF President and Livia Spera, ETF General Secretary and union leaders from across the EU will also take the floor.

During the action, participants will also hold a minute of silence for democracy.


Find out more about Public Service Obligation (PSO) here: