EU neighbors push back against Germany’s road toll plans

Brussels says Germany can proceed with a road charge plan criticized as discriminatory to foreign drivers. The EU had blocked the scheme until Berlin offered a fairer alternative; Dutch opposition may prove problematic, DW reported.

Germany’s EU-approved plan to introduce a toll for its autobahns and federal highways was met with resistance from neighboring countries and threats of lawsuits on Friday.

The Austrian parliament will “look very closely” at the compromise between the European Commission and Germany, said Anton Heinzl a spokesman for Austria’s Social Democrats (SPÖ) party on Friday.

“If it turns out that Austrians are discriminated against, then we will fight this toll by all means and, of course, with legal means,” said Heinzl.

Late Thursday, Dutch transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen told the Dutch news agency ANP that the Netherlands plans to file a lawsuit with the European Court of Justice. The minister said that Germany’s plans were alarming and that “these concerns can only be dispelled if the toll is not introduced.”

It is possible that Austria, Belgium and Denmark would join in on the Dutch lawsuit as well.

Germany’s plan to introduce a toll was approved by EU officials on Thursday, after months of dispute. The original plan, approved by the Bundestag last year, was effectively designed to only impact foreign drivers – Germans were told that their payment would be deducted from existing road taxes.

But the European Commission complained the proposals would be discriminatory under EU rules and began a so-called infringement procedure, launched when a state fails to comply with key EU treaties.

The author: Michel DEURINCK

Michel Deurinck, born in Brussels in 1950, started his career in the Belgian civil service, dedicating over 30 years to public service. Upon retirement, he pursued his passion for journalism. Transitioning into this new field, he quickly gained recognition for his insightful reporting on politics and culture. Deurinck's balanced and thoughtful approach to journalism has made him a respected figure in Belgian media.

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