The German plan to charge foreign residents to use their motorways was judged discriminatory by EU officials because the charges would only be imposed on foreigners.
This project “still contains elements that are contrary to european rights and violate fundamental principals of treaties, in particular discrimination based on nationality” voiced the European Parliament, which voted 510 to 126 with 55 abstentions to oppose the plan. “All users must pay the same price to use the roads” said the parliament.
The project, which wouldn’t have come into force until after German elections in September, has been in the sights of the European Commission for a long time. The Commission objects to the idea that German residents, unlike foreign ones, would automatically be exempt from the road charges. In December the Commission withdrew its reservations after Berlin accepted certain changes, in particular a reduction in the price of short term vignettes, the ones that would mainly be bought by foreign drivers.
However, despite these changes, political opposition remained in Germany and displeasure in bordering countries where there are a lot of cross-border workers. Many members of the European Parliament were not happy either. According to them “Germany is trying to disregard the rules of the common market by putting in place something clearly discriminatory and no one dares to say anything” said Renaud Muselier, a French member of the European Parliament.