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Old July 9th, 2014, 11:47 PM   #6661
cinxxx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post
There is no discrimination by citizenship in the administration of current vignettes.
Should it be by citizenship? Or rather by in Germany registered car drivers? I'm no German, but I own a car here, pay taxes for it, etc.
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Old July 9th, 2014, 11:49 PM   #6662
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It could be a individual going through the whole court system. Individual can also file a complain by the Commission. Or right away the EU Commission that would start a infringement procedure with Germany and perhaps go to the ECJ if Germany would not comply right away.
An individual would have to start with the German courts and exhaust all appeals before going to the ECJ. Another member state could in theory, but rarely would in practice bring a case directly to the ECJ. The more likely outcome would be that the EC would immediately start writing letters to the German government and would quickly take the matter to the ECJ if German were to not quit. Failing that, the EC would go to the ECJ. Several years ago, I persuaded the EC to write letters to the government of one of the member states which were effective in bringing an illegal practice to an end.
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Old July 9th, 2014, 11:52 PM   #6663
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Originally Posted by cinxxx View Post
Should it be by citizenship? Or rather by in Germany registered car drivers? I'm no German, but I own a car here, pay taxes for it, etc.
By citizenship would definitely be illegal. The ECJ has sometimes held illegal rules which in practice tended to affect citizens of one member state differently than citizens of other member states -- even where there was no direct discrimination.
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Old July 9th, 2014, 11:54 PM   #6664
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post
The principle is not equal treatment.
You are right. My bad wording.
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post
The principle is non-discrimination.
There is no discrimination by citizenship in the administration of current vignettes.
My understanding of the proposal is that Germans would receive a break equal to the cost of the vignette. No?
My understanding is that the German road tax will change and Germany will introduce a road vignette. So where is the discrimination?
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post
What do you mean? Discriminate against their own citizens? In favor of their own citizens? Either way, it is not correct, with limited exceptions, as I noted above. EU member states are generally not permitted to treat their own citizens differently than citizens of other EU member states.
In favor of the foreign citizens.

Last edited by Surel; July 9th, 2014 at 11:59 PM.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 12:04 AM   #6665
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinxxx View Post
Should it be by citizenship? Or rather by in Germany registered car drivers? I'm no German, but I own a car here, pay taxes for it, etc.
http://www.bmvi.de/SharedDocs/DE/Anl...ublicationFile

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Die Infrastrukturabgabe ist für die Nutzung des öffentlichen Straßennetzes in Deutschland durch Fahrzeuge mit einem zulässigen Gesamtgewicht von bis zu 3,5t zu entrichten. Von dieser Pflicht sind alle Halter von im In- und Ausland zugelassenen Fahrzeugen umfasst.
The infrastructure fee must be paid for the usage of the public road network in Germany by vehicles with <= 3.5t. All owner of vehicles - registered in Germany or anywhere else - are concerned.
You just have to pay the fee, if you own a car and you want to drive your car on a public road in Germany .
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Old July 10th, 2014, 12:30 AM   #6666
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinxxx View Post
Should it be by citizenship? Or rather by in Germany registered car drivers? I'm no German, but I own a car here, pay taxes for it, etc.
It would be where the car is registered.

And yes, discrimination of a country's own citizen is explicitly not against EU law. Not that it were desirable though.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 01:57 AM   #6667
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The best thing is if the vignette goes to ECJ and then, hmmm, Neelie Kroes kills all the vignettes and we can be free at last in Oesterreich and Ceska Surely Neelie can do it Doesn't EU spend massive subsidies for road projects? This should be adequate to provide "foreign driver costs" and also could be used, USA-style to browbeat the states into line
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Old July 10th, 2014, 02:04 AM   #6668
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post
Ultimately, that will be for the European Court of Justice to decide. My professional opinion, as a Professor of Law who sometimes teaches introductory EU law, is that it violates the principle of non-discrimination.
In which way? The currently proposed toll scheme is only discriminating people of cars registered in Germany in that way that they are forced to buy a 12-month-sticker by default. Non-Germans, however, are not discriminated by any means as they have a choice.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 02:04 AM   #6669
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The best thing is if the vignette goes to ECJ and then, hmmm, Neelie Kroes kills all the vignettes and we can be free at last in Oesterreich and Ceska Surely Neelie can do it Doesn't EU spend massive subsidies for road projects? This should be adequate to provide "foreign driver costs" and also could be used, USA-style to browbeat the states into line
Will it kill also all the tolled roads? I am all for it
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Old July 10th, 2014, 09:27 AM   #6670
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Will it kill also all the tolled roads? I am all for it
Ehm, that would be too good to hope for.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 10:33 AM   #6671
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Quote:
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My understanding is that the German road tax will change and Germany will introduce a road vignette. So where is the discrimination?
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In which way?
We should probably wait to see the final legislation, if any. All the populist claims for it that the scheme will only be paid by non-Germans are incompatible with EU law. However, actual legislation may be different from the populist claims.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 12:36 PM   #6672
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German laws are mostly very well designed.

Imho the road tax could be scrapped altogether. The vignette could replace the road tax altogether. Be compulsory for a) all cars registered in Germany, b) all cars using German network with c) the exception of border areas. The vignettes for less than one year could cost proportionately plus a margin.

Btw. even if Germany introduced tax returns (which would be a very stupid implementation imho) there would be no discrimination as tax returns are not discriminating based on nationality.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 12:51 PM   #6673
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Quote:
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there would be no discrimination as tax returns are not discriminating based on nationality.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 01:22 PM   #6674
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Btw. even if Germany introduced tax returns (which would be a very stupid implementation imho) there would be no discrimination as tax returns are not discriminating based on nationality.
That's not what the ECJ ruled in Commission v. Austria regarding free transport only for those students whose parents paid Austrian taxes.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 03:14 PM   #6675
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As I understand it -

1. Giving German taxpayers a tax refund for having bought the vignette would be illegal, as it would be a subsidy to Germans over other EU-registered cars. It's pretty clear that Germany cannot favour her own citizens in such a way.

2. Reducing the road tax by the amount of the yearly vignette would be legal, as there is no net benefit to the German taxpayer over other EU citizens.

3. Implementing a universal fee for driving in Germany isn't illegal in itself, as Romania has an identical system.

I have a feeling that we might see some severe retaliation from bordering countries if this goes into effect. It wouldn't shock me if Poland introduced tolls on border bridges for instance, or if Denmark launched a hideously expensive vignette scheme on Zealand. I'd also expect France to slam tolls onto previously free autoroutes leading into Germany, such as the one that goes from Strasbourg north.

I still think this is just populism on the part of the CSU. The silence coming from the CDU and SPD suggests that it will be kicked into the long grass - it would draw heavy attention to the lack of funding for German road infrastructure, too.

Having said all this, are they out of their mind for trying to toll all roads? Places like Gorlitz are heavily dependent on cross-border shoppers - do they really want to discourage this?

As an aside, would it be politically viable for Bavaria to introduce a vignette for their Land only? Maybe that's a more sensible solution...
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Old July 10th, 2014, 04:09 PM   #6676
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Wasn't Belgium, about a year ago, considering a vignette for all roads, and the EU vetoed it? But I don't remember the details (whether "the EU" that vetoed it was the commission or the ECJ, whether it was applicable only to foreigners...)
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Old July 10th, 2014, 04:20 PM   #6677
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That's not what the ECJ ruled in Commission v. Austria regarding free transport only for those students whose parents paid Austrian taxes.
That analogy would not work. Those students are Austrian residents, while those drivers are not. The government sets up the tax system for its residents. It is not allowed to discriminate amongst them (And actually it is allowed to do it if we look at the various social entitlements areas).

Btw. I am quite curious what will come out of the ECJ ruling in Commission v. Netherlands on the student transportation issue.

To others, sorry for the OT, I won't go into it any further.

Last edited by Surel; July 10th, 2014 at 04:36 PM.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 04:28 PM   #6678
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I have a simple solution to all this mess.

A toll station (with an awfully expensive price) on the A8 at the Saalach bridge

There you go, problem solved, and peace to the EU


PS: seriously, if in the end all the issue is "Austrians using our A8+A93 for free", just make an agreement about that... i.e. Asfinag pays the bill for A93 maintenance, or something similar.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 04:30 PM   #6679
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I see a white van crashing into it and knocking it down....
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Old July 10th, 2014, 08:33 PM   #6680
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A toll station (with an awfully expensive price) on the A8 at the Saalach bridge
An awfully expensive toll there would just lead to another legal case. A moderate toll, however, could a way to settle the issue of making Austrians pay for its transit through Germany without effecting the relations to all the other neighbouring countries.

Something similar would be needed for the short route through the Berchtesgadener Land as well as the long route via Deggendorf.
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