Russian vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes may be barred from entering a number of European countries in 3 days time. On January 27 a treaty signed by Russia, Estonia, Holland, Romania and Hungary on harmonized maintenance inspections of heavy vehicles comes into force (Finland has also signed an analogous treaty).
From January 27 the signatory countries will require Russian vehicles to show international maintenance certificates. However, the Russian government has not yet decided who will be responsible for issuing the document. Konstantin Sharshakov, a representative of the Russian Association of International Hauliers, told Rosbalt's correspondent that 'the treaty was signed in 2000, and it is now January 2003 and we still can't tell hauliers what they will have to do after January 27.' Even if the Russian authorities decide who will be responsible for issuing the certificate with the next couple of days, hauliers will still not have time to undergo the inspection before the new rules come into force.
Without a certificate heavy vehicles may be refused entry to Finland, which is the main route for Russian exports to Europe. In Holland drivers of heavy vehicles may even face arrest. Sharshakov said that the Russian Ministry of Transport had reached agreement with some countries on delaying the introduction of the new rules, but it appeared that Finland would require drivers to have the certificate in order to cross the border.