Question on sales of Austrian motorway vignettes in German service stations
Publication date: 29 June 2009
Answer to written question on Restricted sales of Austrian motorway vignettes in German service stations by Werner Langen (EPP-ED)
Licences for the sale of Austrian motorway vignettes are issued by the Austrian ASFINAG (Autobahnen- und Schnellstraßen-Finanzierungs-Aktiensgellschaft — Motorway and Expressway Funding Ltd). Owing to the restructuring of this company, opportunities for selling these vignettes have fallen drastically, with sales outlets being reduced from 280 to 130. Only service stations located within 20 kilometres of the border or directly on the motorway are henceforth entitled to sell such vignettes. The new rules create problems for operators of service stations or sales outlets which are not located directly on the motorway, so that customers are obliged to leave the motorway to reach them. Under ASFINAG’s new rules, these service stations are no longer entitled to sell motorway vignettes for Austria.
In view of the above, will the Commission say: 1. On which legal basis has ASFINAG been able to alter provisions regarding entitlement to sell Austrian motorway vignettes?
2. Which legal remedies are available to service station operators who have not been granted authorisation to sell motorway vignettes under the new rules, particularly in view of continuing demand among service station customers?
Answer given by Mr Tajani on behalf of the Commission
Directive 1999/62/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 1999 on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructure, as amended by Directive 2006/38, regulates the charging framework only for goods vehicles having a maximum permissible laden weight of not less than 3.5 tonnes.
Member States are free to apply charging, including time-based user charges ("vignettes"), to other vehicles, such as passenger cars and motorcycles, under national legislation and provided that the Treaty principles of non discrimination and proportionality are respected. Proportionately-priced charges for transit or shorter term usage of the infrastructure should be available inside and outside the Member State in which they are applied, and with as little hindrance to the flow of traffic as possible.
Austria applies a "vignette" system for passenger cars and motorcycles. The "vignettes" are available to road users inside and outside Austria in ways that the Commission, on the basis of available information, does not consider to be incompatible with the said Treaty principles.
Source: European Parliament