There are times when I just don’t understand politicians

A German plan to introduce a motorway tax for foreign cars has earned the wrath of other European Union members who have said they plan to challenge it in court.

The road charging system was approved by the Bundestag last year, but faced stiff opposition from the European commission which has called it discriminatory.

Following an adjustment to the plans agreed in Brussels on Friday the toll is now set to be introduced for foreign-registered cars. Cars registered in Germany will also pay but receive refunds in the form of tax deductions.

There is no problem at all with charging people for a sticker which allows them to drive on the motorways. The Czech Republic does it for example. It’s simply method of charging a toll but as an annual lump sum instead of per trip. Nowt wrong with it at all – it’s sensible even. Those who use a thing should pay for it.

The only problem with this is the idea that Germans should receive specific tax reductions for paying it. If they just lowered tax collection in general by the same amount then there would be no problem at all. So, why are they specifically trying to link a specific tax reduction to this specific road tax? That’s the bit which doesn’t make sense.

17 thoughts on “There are times when I just don’t understand politicians”

  1. It’s the same with the UK wanting to charge EU citizens for NHS treatment I suppose. If you let your citizens use it for ‘free’ then everyone else who hasn’t contributed must be able to grab as much of it as they like.

  2. This will be Merkel trying to show she can bash foreigners, even when she’s surrendered her country to mass replacement immigration.

    She has an election coming up…

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    This is a dig at the French. Its always wound up Germans that they have to pay to use Autoroutes and the french get to use the Autobahns without paying.

  4. The UK charges a HGV levy on entry for lorries that weigh over 12tonnes, and are not registered in the UK. Much of the admin is done by migrant Polish and Spanish speakers in Hartlepool, which is great, ‘cos they have raised the hottie average in the town.
    However, “UK registered vehicles will pay levy costs at the same time and in the same transaction as vehicle excise duty (VED). “, so all is fair. No discrimination for or against foreign.

  5. “So, why are they specifically trying to link a specific tax reduction to this specific road tax?”

    For the same reason the UK does it with foreign registered lorries – visible protection against freeloaders. IIRC the UK system has been fiddled with a few times to make it compatible with EU law and this sounds the same. UK HGV operators pay vehicle excise duty and a road user levy. Foreign registered operators pay just the road user levy. VED was significantly reduced so that most UK registered operators would see roughly no change in their costs.

    I guess the reduced rate of VED, and in Germany a tax reduction, is not discriminatory to foreigners as they are free to register their vehicles in the UK or Germany if they wanted to.

  6. Out of interest, does anyone know how this will work? I don’t relish transiting the German border at 2am & trying to find out then.
    Portugal has a lay-by just their side of the border where you feed your credit card into a machine, presumably ties the card to your registration plate. Lasts a month, I’m told.

    I’d also be interested to know if foreigners ever pay the Dartford Tunnel charge. I’m effectively a foreigner in the UK & I can’t work it out. They’ve taken the toll booths out. The signs direct you to a website. Lot of use if you don’t have a UK data plan. Why would you? Or a data device, for that matter. The website’s English language only, anyway. The phone number they give to pay on doesn’t work from a non-UK phone. 08 numbers don’t. They do say you can pay cash at a Payzone outlet. Except there don’t seem to be any Payzone outlets in the entire UK. Certainly not in London.

  7. BiS

    “New Dartford crossing charge system”

    Designed by useless retarded imbeciles.

    There was nothing wrong with having tolls. By all means have “drive throughs” as well. Supply and demand (for the physical tolls) would have managed the queues for them.

  8. Operated by useless retarded imbeciles, as well, PF. I’ve had an e-mail exchange with customer service. Every reply directs you to the website. The exchange was terminated when I expressed an opinion not much different than yours.

  9. Operated by useless retarded imbeciles, as well, PF. I’ve had an e-mail exchange with customer service. Every reply directs you to the website. The exchange was terminated when I expressed an opinion not much different than yours.
    Come to think of it, why should I give a f**k? Good luck to them trying to recover a charge from someone driving a French registered car lives in Spain.

  10. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    It’s just a typically German bureaucratic way of preventing having their arses sued by the Austrian and Polish governments.

    The Reichsprotektorat and Austria have similar systems: one buys a “vignette” for 10 days, 2 months or a year. What is a bit daft is the sticker system that they use, I guess it’s because Austrian poliss are too stupid to use computers or smartphone to check whether you have paid or not ( a vendor at the petrol station or wherever has to clip the date on the sticker ) .The first thing the rozzers do, if one is stopped, is look at the sticker – they are often so thick that they were issuing fines to people for not having a sticker when the punters were driving around the Viennese first district.

    I have nothing against tolls per se. Trouble is in the UK, they’ll use the system to track everyone’s movements and still NOT abolish Road Tax´, ‘cos it’ll be “too difficult”.

  11. So much for that fiction know as ‘The Single Market’.

    Only a matter of time before the rest of the ‘union’ reciprocates with respect to German cars.

    In France the ‘road tax’ is included in the price of motor fuels, so foreigners pay it when they fill up, and most of the motorway system is private (gasp!) operated and collects tolls from all who use it.

    It is simple, it works, it is fair.

  12. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Simple
    Works
    Fair

    sigh, what a Utopian world we would live in, if these precepts were written into Government policies.

    We have just had a parking scheme imposed on us, in teeth of massive opposition, by my local council.

    It is none of those.

  13. It’s entirely for domestic consumption mostly in Bavaria (where the initiative comes from). Make forriners pay so the reduction in road duty has to be matched by the new toll.

    Lots of neighbouring countries do it, but still, it’s a stupid system. Back in the day when I was crusing around Europe in my Alfa, the sheer inconvenience of it is just amazing. Most places you can at least stop somewhere before the border and buy the sticker, in Hungary you had to register on the internet. Most countries it’s only motorways and some other designated routes. Slovenia put one roundabout on the two routes across the country on the scheme to make Germans transiting to the Balkans or Turkey pay.

    It’s just cynical stupidity. Foreigners buy petrol in your country too, thus paying for the use of the roads (especially Germany because it’s large enough to be challenging for cars to cross without refuelling, and cheaper than its westerly neighbours, and Slovenia because it’s small but cheap). And paying for the roads with fuel duty is a zero-effort thing for the motorist.

    And we also have the green sticker “umweltzone” thing that lets parish councils regulate what vehicle emission standards are acceptable in their parish.

    So much for integration.

  14. I don’t mind the Swiss Vignette, can buy it in advance online or at a service area nearing the border. If not, you will buy it at the border — it’s the only thing they check it my experience. Far better than paying tolls on Italian autostrada, pay toll a few miles over border, then another toll, another at Milan, and yet another barrier issuing tickets when leaving the tangentale.

  15. Dartford toll: I found a leaflet explaining the process in French in a Tesco near Ipswich. Surprised me a bit to find it there, though the explanation is quite good. I assume they also do them in German, Dutch, etc at the ferry terminals.

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