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Truck promotion instead of ecology

Feb 17, 2022 / Kaspar Schuler, CIPRA International
The European Parliament has shown no understanding. Even the last rescue attempts by three parliamentarians were shot down. The new toll regulation for road haulage on European motorways will lead to the one-sided promotion of hydrogen and electric engines. This will lead to a massive disadvantage for freight transport by rail and to even more trucks.
Image caption:
© Iwona Castiello / unsplash

The critical votes in the European Parliament were of cautionary forcefulness. First, the representative of the European People's Party, Barbara Thaler from Tyrol, pointed out the importance of the bill: "The Eurovignette Directive is the first legislative text that will play an important role in the Green Deal. If we agree with this text, we would be telling everyone in Europe that Parliament is not doing everything it can to get freight off the roads and onto the railways."

Anna Deparnay from Germany's green party invoked the watering down and loopholes in the legislative text: "The great opportunity for an EU-wide road toll, which would be both socially just and good for the environment, is being carelessly squandered with this reform. Although the reform tackles a number of issues, it is full of exceptions and loopholes. Rail will continue to be subject to a compulsory toll, a toll on the road will remain optional."

Herbert Dorfmann, representative of the People's Party in South Tyrol, explained the problem by comparing the Brenner and Gotthard axes. Of the 2.5 million lorries that drive over the Brenner Pass every year, "about a quarter only drive through here because the toll costs less here, although the route through Switzerland would be 100 kilometres shorter". This would also remain the case with the revised infrastructure costs directive: "There will be no mandatory internalisation of environmental costs. The shift to rail will not take place, the road will continue to be cheaper. The directive is a result of national special interests. If we are a bit serious about the Green Deal, we should stop this directive."

All her appeals, as well as CIPRA's detailed information to all parliamentarians, were to no avail. CIPRA's Executive Director Kaspar Schuler: "Despite detailed clarification, Parliament stuck to its stance in the service of the road lobby. No consideration is given to sensitive areas such as large agglomerations and the Alps. This contradicts not least the transport protocol of the Alpine Convention."

Further information: (en)