Brussels, 15 December 2005
The European Commission sent a reasoned opinion – the last step before a formal complaint to the Court of Justice is lodged – to Italy for failure to respect European legislation on road charging. Italy applies excessively high discounts of up to 30% for frequent users of their motorways.
“Excessive discounts that are practically only available to national hauliers distort competition and contradict the user pays principle”, said Vice-President Jacques Barrot in charge of transport.
The aim of the Eurovignette Directive is the elimination of distortions of competition between transport undertakings in the Member States. It therefore establishes a mechanism for charging infrastructure costs to hauliers.
The Eurovignette Directive requires that the weighted average tolls shall be related to the costs of constructing, operating and developing the infrastructure network concerned. Without prejudice to the weighted average tolls, Member States may vary the rates at which tolls are charged only according to the emission classes of the vehicles using the motorway and according to the time of the day.
Under certain conditions frequent users could contribute to reduce the administrative costs of the infrastructure provider. However, Italy did not provide any evidence that the rebates are related to administrative cost savings.
 Directive 1999/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 1999 on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures; Official Journal L 187 , 20/07/1999 P. 0042 - 0050