Business Travel Frustrated with Europe’s Long To-Do List

Politische Arbeit in der EU | Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement e.V. (VDR)

BT4Europe, the European Network of Business Travel Associations, strongly supports a variety of European Commission’s initiatives on transportation, sustainability and digitalisation, yet it is frustrated with the slow progress made by the European institutions. With the elections of a new European Parliament in just six months’ time BT4Europe fears that important dossiers will be delegated to the new Commission rather than implemented as soon as needed.

BT4Europe has today written to European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, European Parliament President, Roberta Metsola MEP and the Prospective President-in-office of the forthcoming Belgian Presidency, Alexander De Croo, urging them to make these dossiers in particular, and business travel in general, a greater priority.  


Buyers of business travel support and demand greener business travel. They are expecting a single and unified standard to account for Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive buyers of business travel will have to report their CO2 emissions starting 2024. What is needed is a clear and transparent reporting standard. BT4Europe urges the European institutions to swiftly adopt and implement the draft CountEmissionEU proposal.

Multimodal Digital Mobility Services

More business travel, in particular more cross-border business travel, could and should be done by rail rather than air. Today, online booking engines show air travel alternatives comprehensively, but they fall short of displaying cross-border rail travel alternatives in the same depth. BT4Europe supports an ambitious regulation to force leading suppliers to have their tickets shown and booked by third party booking engines.  A Commission proposal was due to be published this year but has been repeatedly postponed.

A1 form administration

Business travel has long been waiting for an exemption from the A1 form requirement (proof of payment of social security in another Member State). This is a typical administrative hurdle which causes unnecessary additional costs for corporates and their travelers. This requirement causes business travel to be much more expensive than necessary. The EU institutions have been negotiating on this matter for some time but have so far failed to agree a position.

BT4Europe Chair Patrick Diemer says: BT4Europe is committed to support the European institutions in their endeavors to advance on CountEmissionEU, MDMS, and the A1 form exception. Unfortunately, it is disheartening to note that all the aforementioned initiatives seem to be facing delays extending into late 2024 and potentially even 2025. This development is concerning for purchasers of European business travel, as well as for those advocating for the sustainable and digital transformation of business travel. Furthermore, it poses challenges to the overall prosperity of Europe.

He concluded: 'Today, I have written a letter to the EU institutions, urging them to elevate the importance of these dossiers and prioritize business travel, in order to boost the sustainable and digital transformation of business travel and to increase Europe’s prosperity.’

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