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Austria threatens action over motorway toll

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Austria threatens action over motorway toll
Austria's transport minister has threatened Germany with legal action over the charge. Photo: DPA
15:24 CET+01:00
Austria is considering legal action against Germany to prevent the Germans introducing a charge on foreign drivers on motorways.

The Austrians claim that making foreigners pay to drive on Germany’s roads is against European Union law.

On Monday the country’s transport minister Doris Bures said: “We will not allow Austrian drivers to be discriminated against.”

Speaking in newspaper Österreich, she said: “We will proceed with all necessary steps, including an appeal at the European Union Court of Justice." 

Bures said the German plan was against EU rules as it discriminated against foreigners from other EU member states. But the charge was mentioned in the coalition contract drawn up between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and the centre-left SPD at the behest of Merkel’s Bavarian allies the Christian Social Union (CSU).

The CSU believes there is a way to charge foreign drivers on German roads by reducing German road tax. A charge would then be introduced on all drivers, but Germans would be paying the same amount as before their road tax was reduced.

Germany’s transport minister Alexander Dobrindt (CSU) said over the weekend that the charge could be in place by 2015. It would work by drivers buying a vignette costing around €100 a year.

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