Transport ministers debate on proposal to revise EU road charging rules

The German Presidency expects an agreement on Council position on Eurovignette by the end of its term

Photo: EU Andreas Scheuer.

At their meeting, held via video conference on Tuesday afternoon, EU transport ministers discussed a compromise on the long-overdue reform of EU road user charges, after few years of contentious negotiations.

The so-called Eurovignette should ensure that the charges collected are adjusted to take into account the impact of the vehicles on the environment.

The compromise text that the German Presidency proposed gives EU member states, among other things, the option of exempting trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes from the obligation to pay tolls under certain conditions.

An exception could apply, for example, to tradespeople for the transport of materials, tools or machines. The compromise also envisages that two or more member states be given the option of levying a surcharge of between 25% and 50% of the infrastructure charges on the same cross-border transport corridor.

The will prepare a draft negotiating mandate for the meeting of the Council's Permanent Representatives Committee on 18 December.

Andreas Scheuer, German Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure, who chaired the meeting, stated that updated road charging rules will play a key role in the EU’s efforts to make transport greener and more sustainable, and to achieve the CO₂ reduction targets for 2030 in road transport. Moving forward on this dossier has been a high priority for the German Presidency, and I am confident that we will be able to agree on a Council position by the end of our term, he underscored.

The second main topic during the meeting concerned the reform of regulations governing a uniform European airspace. The aim is to make European air traffic management more efficient, flexible and sustainable.

A new edition of the Single European Sky (SES) initiative is considered an indispensable building block for reducing CO2 emissions and thus a basic requirement for implementing the goals of the Commission's European Green Deal.

Especially against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become clear how important it is for air traffic planning to be flexible in order to be able to react more quickly to unpredictable traffic fluctuations.

The German Council Presidency informed ministers about the New Mobility Approach, which is intended to create the framework for a sustainable and crisis-proof transport policy. In this context, the Presidency also provided information on the latest rail transport plans.

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