VIENNA, Oct 13 — Austria said yesterday it is launching a lawsuit at the European Union’s top court over Germany’s planned motorway toll for cars, calling it discriminatory.
“The German toll is a toll against foreigners,” Austrian Transport Minister Joerg Leichtfried said, adding that the suit would be filed with the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice later in the day.
“Germans won’t pay because they are German. Austrians will pay because they are Austrian. We’re not going to stand for that,” Leichtfried said in a statement.
Germany plans to launch the motorway toll in 2019 for all cars but Germans will essentially be refunded by paying less motor vehicle tax.
Leichtfried said that a 30-day deadline for the European Commission to comment on the plans expired on Thursday. He said the lawsuit could last two years.
“The EU Commission’s basic job is to ensure that EU treaties are adhered to. When it comes to the German car toll it closed both eyes tightly,” he said.
Berlin’s plans, a pet project of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s allies in Bavaria, have also angered its other neighbours including Belgium and the Netherlands.
Charges to use motorways, based either on the amount of time spent or distance travelled, are already in place in many European countries.
Anyone driving on Austrian motorways, including Austrians, has to buy a vignette toll sticker valid for a certain time period. — AFP