It may take time, says Transport Minister Jon Georg Dale of the conservative Progress Party, but he’s keen to regulate foreign tour buses more strongly and actively. Opposition Center Party politicians claim it’s a “great shame” that the government hasn’t done more to help Norwegian bus drivers who can’t compete against the cheaper foreign competition from Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries.
Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, a Member of Parliament for the Center Party, claims the Norwegian government could have imposed stronger regulations earlier and done more to enforce minimum wage rules in Norway. Dale responded that Norway must, like EU- and other European Economic Area (EEA) countries, wait for a new regulatory system from the EU.
“There can be no doubt that Norway and the government are working for stronger cabotage regulations,” Dale told newspaper Aftenposten. He agrees that the situation in Norway now is “unacceptable.”
Others warn that the EU, instead of strengthening regulation, may liberalize it. There’s disagreement among EU members over cabotage rules that apply to bus firms operating in another country. Norwegian bus firms want a limit on how long foreign buses can accept jobs in Norway, and they want foreign firms to at least pay their drivers minimum wage in Norway and pay VAT.