Legal Action on ‘Foreigner Toll’ – Liege-Bucharest

Austria and the Netherlands vow to fight the now certainly upcoming German ‘foreigner toll’.

Also, police appeal for information on Belgium truck driver murder. This year’s Liege-Sofia-Liege Rally is actually Liege-Bucharest. Driving licences can only be withdraw EU-wide by driver’s resident Member State says new judgement. New road rules come into effect on 30 June in France (plus a swingeing fine for dropping fag butts in Paris from September).

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LEGAL ACTION ON ‘FOREIGNER TOLL’

Austria and the Netherlands vow to stop German road charge as it clears final domestic hurdle.

Transport minister Alexander Dobrindt faces journalists' questions after successfully negotiating the 'foreigner toll' through the Bundesrat upper house'. Photo BVMI

Transport minister Alexander Dobrindt faces journalists’ questions after successfully negotiating the ‘foreigner toll’ through the Bundesrat upper house on Friday. Photo BMVI

Theoretically the President could refuse to sign it onto the statute book but otherwise opponents of the German ‘foreigner toll’ are left relying on legal action from the Netherlands and Austria.

At a session of the upper house Bundesrat on Friday, state representatives declined to refer the new law to the Arbitration Committee.

The Committee could not have prevented the new toll coming into force since it is administered by the national federal government but it would have slowed the implementation.

As it is, the new road charge comes into force next January.

A triumphant transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said he expects the charge to raise €2 billion during an election period, figures hotly disputed by national motoring club ADAC.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Austrian transport minister told AFP, ‘Austria continues to consider the German move contrary to EU law and has sought legal advice. Once the toll becomes law in Germany, expected in June or July, we will launch a complaint with the European Commission, which has three months to respond. All else failing, we will take legal action.’

The Dutch transport ministry has also reportedly said it will work with other countries to stop the toll while the l’Association des Frontaliers d’Alsace-Lorraine in eastern France, and the l’Automobile Cub Association in Strasbourg, both told Le Parisien they were also opposed.

The European Commission previously said it had to wait until the law was on the statute books before responding though it is known to have worked with the German authorities behind the scenes.

According to a statement from the German transport ministry the next steps include an EU-wide tender for an operator to administer the system.

The ‘foreigner toll’, to use motorways and national main roads, will cost up to €130 per year depending on emissions. Ten day and two month tolls will also be available at up to €15 and €30 respectively. German drivers will have the charge discounted euro for euro through road taxes. See more here (German only).

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This year's 'Liege-Rome-Liege Rally' is actually between Liege and Bucharest.

This year’s ‘Liege-Sofia-Liege Rally’ is actually between Liege and Bucharest. Leaving on Friday 21 August, the entrants – in cars built before 1970 – have one week to reach the Romanian capital via Nuremberg, Graz, Budapest, Oradea, Sibiu and Brasov. Photo: Olivier Gendebien and Pierre Stasse, winners of the 1955 Liege-Rome-Liege, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. More at Liege-Sofia-Liege.org.

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roundup: BELGIUM. Police are appealing for information after a truck driver was found dead at a truck stop between Gent and Antwerp. The man was discovered at 16:00 on Friday at the Waasmunster truck stop on the A14 towards Antwerp. He is believed to have suffered a violent death. According to the appeal (via Deredactie.be), his vehicle – a blue Lithuanian-registered Scania in R.B.I.I. livery – was parked at the E40 Brussels-bound Drongen services on Wednesday night before driving to Waasmunster early on Thursday. Police can be contacted on freephone (00 32) 0800 30 300 or by email at opsporingen@police.belgium.eu. DRIVING LICENCES. Only the Member State in which a driver is resident can withdraw entitlement to drive throughout the EU says a new judgement from the EU’s Court of Justice (via Croner – read the judgement in full, case C-260/13). Other countries can suspend licences but only on their own territory it says. FRANCE. The new road rules announced earlier this year in response to last year’s increase in fatal accidents will take effect from 30 June the National Council for Road Safety announced today. They include a lower blood alcohol level for novice drivers, a ban on headphone telephone hands-free kits and mandatory hi-viz vests for bikers (from 1 January 2016). The sections of accident-prone main road where the speed will be lowered from 90kmh to 80kmh as an experiment are: 23km of N79 and N145 between Chemilly and Dompierre (central); 13km on N57 between Roiz and Vesoul (east); and N7 between Tain l’Hermitage and Valence (south). The minister assured campaigners 80kmh will not become the new norm. Finally, from September, dropping a cigarette butt in Paris is subject to a €68 fine.

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