Brussels, 08/10/04, For immediate release
Ministers Reject Lorry Charging – Time to Rethink ‘True Prices’ for Transport
Yesterday’s Transport Council meeting in Luxembourg ended without agreement on a revised ‘Eurovignette’ Directive (1) – the planned framework for charging Heavy Goods Vehicles for use of European roads.
Markus Liechti, freight transport specialist at Transport and Environment (T&E), speaking on behalf of a coalition including trade unions, environmental organisations and transport industry groups, said “The failure to reach a decision highlights fatal flaws in the Commission’s original proposal”.
Heads of States stated at Gothenburg (2) and again at Barcelona (3) that transport prices should be based on all costs: not just infrastructure costs, but also environmental and health costs. The Commission’s original Eurovignette proposal from July 2003, however, did not allow for environmental costs to be included. Transport Ministers have had three opportunities to improve on the proposal and failed to agree each time.
“The Council should not waste more time discussing the current proposal – several states clearly support true pricing and want to see more progress” commented Liechti. “This sends a clear signal to new Transport Commissioner who said in the European Parliament (4) that transport should pay for all its costs to create a level playing field between transport modes. We invite Mr Barrot to match words with deeds and present a framework for pricing all modes (5).”
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The European Parliament improved the Commission’s proposal in its first reading in April 2004 which must be taken into account by designing a new proposal.
The European Commission has confirmed several times the last decade that all costs should be paid by the users (6). Additionally a large number of research projects of the European Commission showed what costs should be included (7).
(1) Commission’s proposal amending directive 1999/62 for charging for heavy goods vehicles COM(2003) 448 final.
(2) European Union Sustainable Development Strategy, Gothenburg Council June 2001.
(3) Presidency Conclusions. Barcelona European Council on 15 and 16 March 2002.
(4) Hearing of Mr Barrot at the Transport and Tourism Committee in the European Parliament on 29 September 2004.
(5) As recommended by the European Commission’s White Paper ‘European transport policy for 2010: time to decide’. COM(2001) 370, Brussels 12/09/2001.
6) Green Paper ‘Towards Fair and Efficient Pricing’, European Commission 1995; White Paper ‘Fair Payment for Infrastructure use’, European Commission 1998.
(7) e.g. IMPRINT 2002, Identifying Key Requirements for Pricing Reform. Implementing Pricing Reform in Transport.
For more information:
Markus Liechti, Freight Transport Specialist
T&E, European Federation for Transport and Environment, Brussels
Tel: + 32 2 502 99 09, GSM: +32 474 69 00 40 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of:
Austria Federal Chamber of Labour (AK), Vienna
Austrian Railway Workers Trade Union, Vienna
BUND Germany, Berlin
EEB: European Environmental Bureau, Brussels
Pendo Maro, Tel : +32 2 289 13 02
EIM: European Rail Infrastructure Managers, Brussels
Helena Tilander Tel + 32 2 234 37 77
ERFA: European Rail Freight Association, Brussels
ETF: European Transport Workers Federation, Brussels
Beatrice Hertogs, Tel: +32 2 285 46 64
Federation for a kilometre-based heavy vehicle fee in the whole of Europe