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European Commission - Press release
Transport: Commission requests Portugal to comply with rules on the charging of heavy goods vehicles
Brussels, 27 October 2011 - The European Commission has requested Portugal to take the necessary measures to comply with the directive on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructure. This request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under European Union infringement procedures. If Portugal fails to inform the Commission within two months of measures taken to ensure compliance with EU law, the Commission could refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.
The EU rules
Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (known as the "Eurovignette directive"), as amended by Directive 2006/38/EC, requires Member States to respect certain conditions when maintaining or introducing tolls and/or user charges on the Trans-European road network. The directive sets out a methodology for calculating average tolls, which must be followed by Member States for all new tolling arrangements put into place after 10 June 2008. The directive also requires Member States to communicate to the Commission information on the calculation of the tolls for new tolling arrangements falling under the directive.
The reason for this request
The Portuguese law transposing the Eurovignette Directive contains a provision that leaves concession toll systems entirely outside the scope of the directive. The Commission considers this to be contrary to the directive. In addition, Portugal failed to comply with the obligation to communicate to the Commission information on the calculation of the tolls for newly introduced tolling arrangements.
The practical effect of non-implementation
Failing to implement this directive appropriately and to communicate to the Commission the relevant information means that Portuguese tolling arrangements risk contradicting the general aims of the directive, such as the prohibition of discrimination or the principle that tolls must be based only on the recovery of infrastructure costs.