Thursday, 22 May 2008

EU TFEU: Transport charges and dues

The EU Treaty of Lisbon takes over the provision on charges and dues in respect of the crossing of frontiers which are charged by a carrier in addition to the transport rates, but the new treaty gives no indication of if the provision has any relevance since the scrapping of border controls in the Schengen area.

Is it time to overhaul both EU treaties and coursebooks?


Article 97 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is found in the consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, published in the Official Journal of the European Union, OJ 9.5.2008 C 115/87:

Part Three ‘Policies and internal actions of the Union’

Title VI TFEU ‘Transport’

Article 97 TFEU
(ex Article 77 TEC)

Charges or dues in respect of the crossing of frontiers which are charged by a carrier in addition to the transport rates shall not exceed a reasonable level after taking the costs actually incurred thereby into account.

Member States shall endeavour to reduce these costs progressively.

The Commission may make recommendations to Member States for the application of this Article.


In Article 2, point 72 of the Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) the intergovernmental conference (IGC 2007) laid out the specific amendments to Article 75 TEC, and in point 73 it dealt with Article 78 TEC. Thus, no specific amendments were made to Article 77 TEC (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/68).

The TFEU table of equivalences tells us that Article 77 TEC first became Article 77 TFEU (ToL), but later renumbered Article 97 TFEU in the consolidated version (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/210).


The current Article 77 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) is found under Title V ‘Transport’ in the latest consolidated version of the treaties in force (OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/72). The wording is exactly the same as in Article 97 TFEU.


Still, for the sake of a systematic comparison, we look at the Article during the previous treaty reform stages.

Therefore, we turn to the European Convention.

Article III-140 of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe just deleted the word ‘progressively’ from the text of the current Article 77 TEC (OJ 18.7.2003 C 169/54).


Article III-242 of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe adopted the text of the European Convention unchanged (OJ 16.12.2004 C 310/107).


The IGC 2007 managed to keep the bulk of the Lisbon Treaty down by basing its amendments on the current treaties and by disregarding cosmetic changes in a number of instances. The word ‘progressively’ flows from the TEC to the TFEU.


Have others found anything to say about an unchanged provision of the Lisbon Treaty?

United Kingdom

Professor Steve Peers covered the Treaty of Lisbon in a number of Statewatch Analyses. ‘EU Reform Treaty Analysis no. 3.3: Revised text of Part Three, Titles I to VI of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC): Internal Market and competition’ (Version 2, 23 October 2007) includes the current Title V Transport.

The unchanged Article 77 TEC and TFEU (ToL), to be renumbered Article 97 TFEU in the consolidated version, drew no comment (page 22).

The analysis 3.3 and other useful Statewatch analyses are available through:


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offers a convenient source of brief annotations on Lisbon Treaty amendments in ‘A comparative table of the current EC and EU treaties as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon’ (Command Paper 7311, published 21 January 2008). The comment on Article 97 TFEU, Article 77 TFEU (ToL) in the original Lisbon Treaty, is short (page 11):

“Unchanged from Article 77 TEC.”

The FCO comparative table is available at:


The UK House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/86 ‘The Treaty of Lisbon: amendments to the Treaty establishing the European Community’ (published 6 December 2007) wrapped up Transport in a brief comment on page 56:

“F. Transport

Title V, Articles 70-80 (Constitution Articles III-236 – 245) are on transport and are based largely on Articles 70 – 75 TEC, but with a change in the voting procedure to the OLP with QMV, except for Article 72, which replaces unanimity in the Constitution Article III-237 with a “special legislative procedure”. Other, minor, changes are Article 75(c), which adds the EP to those bodies to be consulted, and Article 78 (Constitution Article III-243), allowing the Article concerning German unification to be repealed after 5 years.

Present Articles 154 – 156 on Trans-European Networks (TENS) have been moved to Title VII and contain only minor amendments.”

The Library Research Paper 07/86 is available at:


The House of Lords European Union Committee report ‘The Treaty of Lisbon: an impact assessment, Volume I: Report’ (HL Paper 62-I, published 13 March 2008) made no explicit reference to Article 97 TFEU.

The report is accessible at:



The consultation paper of the government of Sweden, ‘Lissabonfördraget; Statsrådsberedningen, Departementsserien (Ds), Ds 2007:48’ published 20 December 2007, bundled together transport and trans-European networks under the headline ‘Transporter och transeuropeiska nät’ (page 280 to 282).

The text offers an overview of the coming Title VI ‘Transport’, but I found nothing on Article 77 TEC and ToL.

The consultation paper ’Lissabonfördraget’ is available at:



The systematic Finnish ratification bill, ‘Hallituksen esitys Eduskunnalle Euroopan unionista tehdyn sopimuksen ja Euroopan yhteisön perustamissopimuksen muuttamisesta tehdyn Lissabonin sopimuksen hyväksymisestä ja laiksi sen lainsäädännön alaan kuuluvien määräysten voimaansaattamisesta’ (HE 23/2008 vp), bundles together Articles 76 and 77 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Articles 96 and 97 TFEU, in a brief explanation (page 206).

The Finnish ratification bill is available at:

The Swedish language version of the ratification bill ‘Regeringens proposition till Riksdagen med förslag om godkännande av Lissabonfördraget om ändring av fördraget om Europeiska unionen och fördraget om upprättandet av Europeiska gemenskapen och till lag om sättande i kraft av de bestämmelser i fördraget som hör till området för lagstiftningen’ (RP 23/2008 rd), offers the same explanation on page 209:

The ratification bill in Swedish can be accessed at:


From the viewpoint of treaty change, a provision without amendments is uninteresting, as shown by the fair sample of documents we have looked at. For national legislators these provisions are covered by earlier ratifications.

Possibly, a provision such as 97 TFEU may have become redundant, but lives on because there has been no thorough spring-cleaning of the internal policy areas.

But how is a student to know, since internal policy sectors are hardly dealt with at all in university curricula, in English? I failed to find ‘Transport’ indexed in four coursebooks.

At least some continental books for students seem to take a broader ‘law and politics’ approach. Here are a few examples of general books with chapters on transport (although there may be later editions than the ones I have at hand):

Roland Bieber, Astrid Epiney & Marcel Haag: Die Europäische Union, Europarecht und Politik (6. Auflage, Nomos, 2005)

Fernando Díez Moreno: Manual de derecho de la Unión Europea (Tercera edición, Editorial Aranzadi, 2005)

Louis Dubouis & Claude Blumann: Droit matériel de l’Union européenne (3e édition, Montchrestien, 2004)

Enrique Linde Paniagua (Coordinador) : Políticas de la Unión Europea (2a edicón, Colex, 2005)

Ralf Grahn