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German vignette likely
A vignette allowing foreign registered cars to drive in Germany looks ever more likely.
The European Commission has now said such a system would not be discriminatory according to a report in newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung (and, in English, Deutsche Welle) thus removing one of the policies’ final stumbling blocks.
DriveEurope has contacted the Commission for comment but is yet to hear back.
The brainchild of Angela Merkel’s sister party in Bavaria – the CSU – the foreigner vignette was said to be a deal breaker in coalition negotiations following the recent general election. In its report on the on-going talks on 21 October, Der Spiegel said the vignette stood a ‘good chance’ of being approved.
An amount of €100 each year has been mentioned, payable by all drivers. German drivers would be compensated by lower vehicle taxes, similar to the upcoming daily charge being levied on hauliers in the UK, rebated to British companies via lower Vehicle Excise Duty.
Unexplained as yet is the effect the German vignette will have on the European Commission’s stated desire for a pan-European, pay-as-you-go road toll system. An announcement on the next steps had been expected in June, then postponed to September-October. We’re still waiting to hear.
update: despite several attempts to contact the Commission we never heard back. However, on 7 November Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas did send an interesting tweet: ‘User charging is the future for infrastructure funding. I welcome the public debate in DE [Germany] on usefulness of
#PkwMaut.’ (PkwMaut is a toll for light vehicles). Alongside was a link to an article in Die Welt – in German – which seems to suggest the EU’s approval is not yet cut and dried. Mr Kallas is to meet with Bavaria’s CSU.
UKRAINE/RUSSIA. A queue of up to 100 trucks has built up at the Uspenka and Novoazovsk checkpoints in the Donetsk region since 28 October following new rules introduced by the Russian Federal Customs Service. Spookily similar situation with Lithuanian trucks earlier this month.