German roads: Charging the neighbours

BAVARIANS have long been cranky about having to pay road tolls every time they drive through Austria, say, whereas foreigners pay nothing to drive on German roads. Last year the Christian Social Union (CSU), a party that exists only in Bavaria but is the partner of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), campaigned on “plugging this justice gap.” Mrs Merkel found the proposal silly, and against European Union rules. But the CSU made it a condition of joining a coalition government.On July 7th Alexander Dobrindt, the transport minister and a rising talent in the CSU, unveiled a plan to square a tricky circle. The new law must charge foreign drivers on German roads; but, second, impose no extra costs on German drivers; and, third, comply with EU law, which forbids discrimination against other EU citizens.Mr Dobrindt proposes to charge everybody, foreign or German, for driving on any German road from January 2016. Drivers will have three options: a ten-day pass for €10 ($13.60), a two-month one for €20, or an annual one. The third of these, which all German drivers need by default but foreigners may also buy through the internet, would cost €88 on average, but vary with the size and emissions of the car.To ensure that Germans will not pay any more overall, Mr Dobrindt simultaneously wants to reform Germany’s vehicle tax. Drivers of cars registered in Germany would be…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/europe/21606867-bavaria-getting-germany-make-foreigners-pay-driving-its-roads-charging-neighbours?fsrc=rss|eur

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