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EU Rights in the Spotlight – June

28 June 2019

This EU Rights in the Spotlight section features one European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgments affecting EU citizenship:

The German vignette for the use by passenger vehicles of federal roads is contrary to EU law

On June 18th, the European Court of Justice ruled that the “infrastructure use charge” introduced by Germany to charge passenger vehicles for the use of federal roads, including motorways is discriminatory, since the economic burden of the charge falls, de facto, solely on the owners and drivers of vehicles registered in other Member States.

The charge required every owner of a vehicle registered in Germany to pay the fee in the form of an annual vignette of no more than €130. For vehicles registered abroad, payment of the charge was required (of the owner or the driver) for use of the German motorways by purchasing a 10 day vignette, costing between €2.50 and € 25, a 2 month vignette, costing between €7 and €50 or annual vignettes, costing no more than a maximum of €130.

The Court found that the infrastructure use charge, in combination with the relief from motor vehicle tax enjoyed by the owners of vehicles registered in Germany, constitutes indirect discrimination on grounds of nationality and is in breach of the principles of the free movement of goods and of the freedom to provide services.

Read the full ruling here.