Thursday 09 December 2021

Dutch raise German road toll plan with Brussels, citing discrimination

Transport minister Melania Schultz has asked to European Commission to investigate if Germany’s plans to introduce road tolls for foreigners break EU rules.

A number of experts have already said the plans, which have caused great unease in the Dutch border regions, cannot be put into practice legally.

Schultz told parliament in a briefing she has already discussed the German proposals with officials in Berlin and with her counterparts in Denmark, Austria and Poland which also have borders with Germany.

Charge

‘I will ask [European commissioner Siim] Kallas to look into whether this plan conforms with EU law,’ Schultz told parliament in a briefing.

Germany plans to introduce an €88 annual charge for private cars in January 2016. German drivers will be compensated for the cost of the permit through a reduction in road tax.

Dutch nationals who travel frequently to Germany will be able to buy a permit for 10 days, two months or a year but will not get compensation. This critics say, is discrimination against foreign motorists.

Divisions

The plan has also causes sharp divisions within Germany itself.

The Wall Street Journal reported in July that the European Commission has warned that Germans and foreigners would have to be treated equally.

‘Changes to Germany’s existing car taxation scheme are a German responsibility,’ the paper quoted Helen Kearns, spokeswoman for the EU’s transportation commissioner, Siim Kallas, as saying. ‘They should not be directly aimed at discriminating [against] foreign drivers.’

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