Years of planning went into the car toll, transport minister andreas scheuer wanted to let go of his prestigious project in 2020. But that will come to nothing. What are the consequences of failure??
Munich – the european court of justice (eugh) has overturned the german passenger car toll. The planned levy for the use of highways violates eu law, the eugh ruled – and thus proved the austrian government right, which had filed a lawsuit against the CSU’s favorite project. The tz explains what the ruling means.
Car toll: how the judges justified their decision?
The eugh considered the plans to be discriminatory against foreign drivers, because German vehicle owners were to be relieved of the burden of vehicle tax when the toll was introduced. The planned levy violates the principles of free movement of goods and services. Because for german vehicle owners, the toll would be "fully compensated". As a result, the "economic burden of this levy actually falls solely on the owners and drivers of vehicles registered in other member states".
The German toll plans had shown that the system change to a user pays principle would "in reality only" affect foreign vehicle owners, while German motorists would continue to be financed by taxes. Transport minister scheuer’s post is now also likely to shake under the car toll debacle.
Why the ruling on the car toll came as a surprise?
In his final motion in February, the attorney general responsible for the proceedings argued that Austria’s action should be dismissed. In contrast to many other proceedings, the eugh judges did not follow the attorney general’s proposal for a decision this time.
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What does the car toll ruling mean for the federal government??
Germany must bury the toll plans it has been discussing for nine years in this form. Above all, this is a debacle for the CSU, which had once invented the "toll for foreigners" as an "electoral maneuver" (according to Bavaria’s Green Party leader eike hallitzky).
The federal government is also getting into trouble because the facts for the introduction of the toll have already been created in advance. There are, above all, the surcharges for the private operators of the toll, who are now threatened with compensation demands. In addition, the money from the toll had already been budgeted for in the 2020 federal budget, and positions had already been created at the Federal Motor Transport Authority. the federal government had expected revenues of half a billion euros per year.
What the german toll should have looked like?
Federal Transport Minister andreas scheuer (CSU) had planned to introduce the toll on cars in october 2020. All owners of cars registered in germany should pay an annual toll of a maximum of 130 euros for the use of autobahns and federal highways. But at the same time, german motorists should not pay more than before and should therefore be relieved of the burden of vehicle tax when the toll is introduced. This political gambit was considered legally tricky from the start.
Because no relief was planned for foreign drivers – they were supposed to pay when they drove on german highways. After the failed plans, they were only left with the option of choosing between vignettes for ten days, two months or one year. The planned prices ranged from 2.50 euros to 130 euros.
Car toll overturned: what happens now??
The previous plans have been scrapped. But transport minister andreas scheuer, who also had to take a step backwards in terms of the catalog of fines, does not want to give up the basic idea of financing the freeway network by all users. However, German drivers will probably have to pay just as much as foreign drivers.
Car toll: dispute for six years
The dispute over the passenger car toll began six years ago: on 15. July 2013 the CSU included the toll "for travelers from abroad on german highways" in its party program. CDU leader angela merkel rejected the CSU’s plans, leading to a fierce dispute within the union. At 7. July 2014 the then CSU transport minister alexander dobrindt presented his toll concept, which was adopted on 27. March 2015 from the coalition partner SPD in the Bundestag and on the 8. May 2015 approved by the bundesrat. But then the EU Commission initiated proceedings against the toll because it discriminates against EU foreigners. After a number of amendments, dobrindt and the EU Transport Commissioner reached agreement on 1. December 2016 on a modified toll concept – which has now been overturned following a lawsuit by austria.
Transport minister andreas scheuer apparently plans to change driving license rules. This will soon make it possible to ride a motorcycle without an additional test. Experts are already warning of a drastic increase in the number of accidents. Austria wants to abolish the toll for certain stretches in winter 2019/20 – as of mid-December 2019, three highway sections near the border with Germany have now been exempted from the fee.
Chancellor angela merkel answers critical questions about the government’s work in the government survey at the end of the year. But the car toll scandal continues to cause problems for scheuer, too: apparently, the minister’s cell phone data has been deleted.