Neighboring countries to Germany have objected to the recently planned German motorway toll fee. According to reports, plans were underway in Germany to introduce an annual fee of €130 (£115; $145). The fee would be applicable to everyone except to the German citizens who would pay a reduced amount on their car tax. This plan faced objection by neighboring countries of Austria and Netherlands.
According to German ministers, the toll contributions would have added towards a roughly €500m investment in the country’s infrastructure. Moreover, Germany also wanted to direct efforts towards a “polluter pays” system.
The government under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reign has ruled out the plan since years, implying that it would impose an extra burden on local drivers. However, the ECJ, EU court, ruled that the toll, “constitutes indirect discrimination on the grounds of nationality.” The reason being that the motorways were designed to be offset by drivers from neighboring states.
Furthermore, the court also objected that the plan would restrict the movement of goods and services and also disapproved that it imposed an economic burden on foreign commuters. The court, however, did not accept the German argument that toll relief to German motorists was equivalent to government moving to a user-pays system.
Austrian Company, Kapsch TrafficCom will reportedly collect toll with a German company. Earlier, strongest oppositions had been raised by Austria, who believed the toll plan was simply a tax on foreigners. The plan was equally opposed by the Dutch, while Denmark supported the new development.
Austrians opposition was based on the inevitability of the tax since the regular commute took place via Germany’s Autobahn. The Dutch backed up Austria, claiming the planned toll would need their motorists, especially the ones residing on the periphery of the German border, to pay an estimated sum of up to €100m a year.
However, towards the end, Austria has praised the ruling, since German ideas contradicted with the European ideas and especially when the Austrian company was offered the contract for toll plan.