If Andreas Scheuer is successful, there will soon be a nationwide car toll in Europe. A new European directive on tolls provides for this. However, the Department of the Environment has now rejected the plans immediately.
With the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer wants to pave the way for an almost national toll in Germany and in Europe. On highways, almost all vehicles, from trucks to delivery vans to cars, are then expected to pay charges by 2029 at the latest, according to the draft EU toll directive, which Reuters received on Wednesday.
Going forward, “virtually all vehicles that travel on the highway (including cars, but not motorcycles or buses) would have to pay a fee,” Scheuer says in the cover letter to his federal colleagues . According to government circles, they are expected to approve the project during the day, making it the German concept of the presidency of the Council of the EU.
Plans immediately rejected
The Minister of Transport’s plan did not work. The Federal Ministry for the Environment wants to block Scheuer’s plans. The plan surprised the Environment Ministry, a spokesperson in Berlin said on Wednesday. “From our point of view, that doesn’t make sense.”
For climate protection, the path of CO2 pricing must be chosen in the transport sector. It would affect not only highways, but all roads. A double burden of the price of CO2 and the toll is not desired.
SPD wanted to stop the projects
Government officials also told Reuters that several departments wanted to stop the project first. This is particularly delicate for the departments headed by the SPD: the SPD has always viewed car tolls extremely critically and after the German concept’s failure before the European Court of Justice (ECJ), rejected a new attempt. On the other hand, a toll linked to the route is also an instrument for climate protection.
Scheuer is clearly aware of the explosive nature of the text within his own government: “Since it departs from the previous German position on certain points, I need your approval for this,” he said in the letter. accompanying. Even if Scheuer’s draft was mostly approved by other departments, one can expect resistance from a number of other EU states.
A transitional period is also foreseen in the draft: the motor vehicle toll must enter into force “within eight years” following the entry into force of the directive. As it must be decided this year or at the latest at the beginning of next year, the car toll should then come by 2029. Another condition would be that the States have set up a “system of charges for the users of the road”.
This also includes a heavy goods vehicle toll as in Germany. Most countries already have such a model, others like the Netherlands are planning to introduce a toll for trucks in the coming years. Small island states such as Malta or Cyprus could be toll-free.
Reduced toll for climate neutral journeys
Basically, the Tolls Directive mainly foresees new regulations for trucks. They are intended to replace the old Euro standards. For the first time, CO2 emissions are set to become a decisive factor. Depending on the project, for example, a currently modern Euro VI truck weighing 40 tonnes may be charged an additional 8 cents per kilometer, then 26.7 cents. This is expected to take effect from 2023. This system is based on a proposal from the Croatian Presidency of the Council, which however was not able to reach a consensus in the EU on the directive.
Scheuer changed it in a few places: for example, hybrid trucks and cars that can run on electricity as well as gasoline or diesel should only have to pay a significantly reduced toll for distances that they are proven to be emission free. Scheuer, on the other hand, opened up to a toll for delivery vans between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, which has long been viewed critically in the CSU with reference to craftsmen. However, there should be exceptions here.