A provisional agreement on the Eurovignette Directive was reached last night between Parliament and the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU. This directive aims to establish road pricing rules in Europe, in particular with a view to a fairer application of the polluter-pays and user-pays principles in the transport of goods.
Proposed in 2017, the negotiations for this revision were particularly intense and difficult due to the current great diversity of tariff mechanisms between the Member States, who took three years to arrive at a general approach. The European Parliament defended an ambitious position, aiming to widen its application to new categories of vehicles (in particular vans) and to the gradual withdrawal of duration-based pricing (vignette) in favor of tolls, better able to reflect the impacts of road use.
Dominique RIQUET (Renaissance, France), rapporteur for Renew Europe on this dossier within the parliamentary committee on Transport, said: “This is the first time that we are moving towards environmental regulations based on usage. This involves applying not only the user pays principle but also the polluter pays principle by integrating the externalities of road freight transport. This is a significant step forward for equal treatment between the different modes, while being in line with the achievement of our Green Deal objectives. It marks the future greening of goods transport in Europe”.
Due to the widely differing views between the co-legislators, give-and-take was necessary. However, Parliament succeeded in ensuring the gradual withdrawal of vignettes from the central network for heavy goods vehicles within 8 years. The principle of the polluter / user pays is also endorsed, with proportionality in pricing with regard to internalities / externalities depending on the use and environmental performance of the vehicle. Among other things, the agreement enshrines the principle of earmarking of revenues linked to congestion towards the transition of the transport sectors.
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