Expert opinion: car toll violates eu law

The plans of german transport minister alexander dobrindt (CSU) for a passenger car toll violate EU law, according to the bundestag’s scientific service. Dobrindt’s concept would lead to "indirect discrimination against union citizens" in several cases, according to the 23-page legal study, which was made available to the news agency dpa . First the bild am sonntag and spiegel reported about it. The ministry of transport accused the author of the report of making mistakes – the draft law would clearly be in conformity with european law.

Dobrindt wants to introduce a compulsory vignette on all german roads. The bottom line is that the additional revenue will only come from foreign drivers. Domestic car owners are to be fully relieved of the burden of the toll via the motor vehicle tax. Although the tax relief should formally be decided separately, "both measures must be considered together," according to the bundestag report commissioned by SPD member of parliament johannes fechner.

The author sees in the coupling a discrimination of other EU citizens. Also the planned structure of the vignettenpreise was according to the investigation against european union right verstoben. The prices for annual vignettes for domestic cars were to be graded according to environmental friendliness, engine capacity and year of registration, but not for foreign cars. This would mean that a foreign driver of a gasoline vehicle would have to pay a uniform 103.04 euros, while the owner of, for example, a VW polo registered in germany would pay 1.2 TSI but only 24 euros – by which the motor vehicle tax would then also fall.

"The withholding of a premium level graduated according to certain criteria leads to unequal treatment of domestic and foreign car owners and thus to indirect discrimination," the legal study states. However, the author bases this on the flat rate that foreign car drivers had to pay for an annual toll sticker at a gas station. If they order via the internet, however, they will have to pay different rates depending on the characteristics of the car, as is the case with domestic drivers.

The ministry of transport took this, among other things, as an opportunity to criticize the legal study as flawed. "The scientific service’s statements are obviously flawed in terms of professionalism and content. The conclusions are therefore absolutely inaccurate," a spokesman said. The bundestag expert also criticized the fact that dobrindt’s car toll concept placed a heavier financial burden on foreign transport companies, such as courier services, than on domestic ones. He sees this as a violation of the treaty on the functioning of the EU and a corresponding ban by the european court of justice.

The chairman of the daimler group, dieter zetsche, strongly opposed dobrindt’s plan. "I consider the passenger car toll to be populist rather than rationally comprehensible," he told the bild am sonntag newspaper. He understands the anger about the tolls in neighboring countries. "But it is wrong to give like with like here. If anything, we need a european solution. We should rather keep our hands off the planned selective toll in germany."

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