MEP: Eurovignette proposals too tough on roads

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German MEP Georg Jarzembowski (EPP-ED) says Commission plans to green transport must also subject railways to “stringent measures”, adding that the establishment of a voluntary framework rather than a mandatory scheme “just don’t make sense”.

German MEP Georg Jarzembowski is transport spokesman for the EPP-ED Group.

To read a news article related to this interview, please click here.

What do you think about the Commission’s plans to internalise the external costs of transport and review the Eurovignette Directive?

Well, we want to make sure that all modes of transport are treated equally, so we will very carefully discuss the proposals by the Commission. We are a little bit shocked that the Commission only proposes something for the road and is not preparing anything for the other modes of transport. So we have to watch that very carefully because we believe that we should have an overall approach for all modes of transport. 

But isn’t rail already subject to mandatory tolls?

No, no, there is a possibility of internalisation of external costs – of including environmental issues in the tariff cost – but nobody actually does it. And this is somewhat unfair because if you want to internalise external costs, then you should do it the same for each mode of transport. And this is the strange thing also with the Eurovignette because it is voluntary and the countries that want to do it can do it, but the countries that don’t want to, don’t have to. And this is strange, because if you want to internalise external costs because of the climate change issue, then all countries should do it. 

So you would favour a mandatory approach?

Yes, because either we think that it’s necessary – and then it’s necessary for all modes of transportation. So we have to discuss what the philosophy behind all of this is, because it cannot be that in some countries there is an internalisation of external costs while in others there is not. It just doesn’t make sense. 

You mentioned the climate change issue, but the Commission’s current proposal actually precludes including the cost of CO2 in road charges… 

Well no, I wouldn’t say that. If you look at the Eurovignette, we have already today a spreading of the tariff according to Euro 1 to Euro 6 standards – so the more polluting a truck is, the more it has to pay. This is already a type of CO2 criteria in the ‘irective, because the tariff varies according to the pollution. So I don’t think that you can say that because it’s not mentioned in the new proposal, there is no linkage to CO2. 

But don’t the Euro standards cover NOx and particulate matter but not CO2?

Right, that’s true, but this is a question of what is the most polluting from a car. And I think that, with these different criteria for Euro 1 to 6, we are including the pollution and climate change elements in the directive. It is based on other criteria, but it is basically the same because we are trying to fight pollution that is disturbing our climate. So I don’t think we have to use CO2 as a special criterion. 

So you don’t think that excluding CO2 from the scope of the Eurovignette Directive goes against the EU’s climate goals?

No I don’t think so. 

What about the inclusion of accident or accident costs?

No these are paid for by insurance companies. You shouldn’t double pay. 

So your main message to the Commission is that we need a common approach to all modes of transport?

We have two questions. The first is: “If you want to internalise external costs, then why don’t you propose a mandatory system for all countries?” And secondly, “Why do you only propose stringent measures for roads and not for other modes of transportation?” 

Do you want air transport to be covered too?

With air transport, we have just finalised legislation on the Emissions Trading and aviation and I think that is enough for the sector for the moment. 

So no need for extra fuel taxes then?

No, no need for any extra new regulations. 

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