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Taxation of heavy goods vehicles: Eurovignette Directive
The Directive harmonises levy systems - vehicle taxes, tolls and charges relating to the use of road infrastructure - and establishes fair mechanisms for charging infrastructure costs to hauliers.
This Directive replaces Directive 93/89/EEC on the application by Member States of taxes on certain vehicles used for the carriage of goods by road and tolls and charges for the use of certain infrastructures (Eurovignette).
The Directive covers vehicle taxes, tolls and user charges imposed on vehicles intended for the carriage of goods by road and having a maximum permissible gross laden weight of not less than 12 tonnes.
It does not cover:
- vehicles carrying out transport operations exclusively in the non-European territories of the Member States;
- vehicles registered in the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, the Azores or Madeira and carrying out transport operations in these territories or between these territories and Spain or Portugal.
The Directive indicates which taxes are concerned in each individual country. Each Member State is responsible for adopting procedures for levying and collecting these taxes, which are charged by the Member State in which the vehicle is registered.
Member States may not set vehicle tax rates any lower than the minimum rates set out in the Directive. Under the Directive, Member States also have the option, in certain cases and subject to certain conditions, of applying reduced rates or granting exemptions.
Tolls and user charges
The Directive lists the conditions to be met by Member States wishing to introduce and/or maintain tolls or introduce user charges. These conditions are as follows:
- imposition only on users of motorways or similar roads, bridges, tunnels and mountain passes;
- application of the principle of no discrimination on the grounds of the nationality of the haulier or the origin or destination of the vehicle;
- no checks at internal borders;
- re-examination of maximum rates for user charges on 1 July 2002, and every two years thereafter;
- application of the principle of proportionality of rates for user charges, based on the duration of the use made of the infrastructures;
- possibility of varying the rates depending on the categories of emissions from the vehicles and/or the time of day;
- possibility for two or more Member States to cooperate in introducing a common system for user charges, subject to compliance with certain conditions such as the fair sharing of revenue among Member States.
In addition to the taxes provided for by the Directive, Member States may apply:
- taxes or charges levied upon registration of the vehicle or imposed on vehicles or loads of abnormal weights or dimensions;
- parking fees and specific urban traffic charges;
- charges aimed at combating road congestion.
Member States that install electronic toll systems are responsible for ensuring that their systems are compatible.
Revision of the Directive (2006)
Directive 2006/38/EC of 17 May 2006 amends the Directive with a view to establishing a new Community framework for charging for the use of road infrastructure. This makes it possible to improve the efficiency of the road transport system and ensure the proper functioning of the internal market. The Directive lays down rules for the application by Member States of tolls or user charges on roads, including roads on the trans-European road network and roads in mountainous regions.
From 2012 onwards Directive 2006/38/EC will apply to vehicles weighing between 3.5 and 12 tonnes.
Member States are able to differentiate tolls according to a vehicle's emission category ("EURO" classification) and the level of damage it causes to roads, the place, the time and the amount of congestion. This makes it possible to tackle the problems of traffic congestion, including damage to the environment, on the basis of the "user pays" and "polluter pays" principles.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
OJ L 187 of 20.7.1999
|Amending act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
OJ L 157 of 9.6.2006
OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006