Transport Council: No agreement on Euro-Vignette

Updated: Jan 19

Three issues were on the agenda of the EU Transport Council on 2 December 2019, including the vote on a common position on the revision of road pricing, also known as the EuroVignette. However, contrary to general expectations, no common position could be adopted. In advance, it was assumed that there would be a rapid agreement. In particular, however, Germany and Italy may have spoken out against the decision. But Sweden, the Netherlands and Luxembourg also rejected the Finnish Presidency's proposal. The Finnish proposal had already been very compressed.



For example, the proposal left the countries free to decide whether time or kilometres should be used as the basis for future toll calculations.


A definitive abolition of time-based vignette systems by 2027 was no longer included. Similarly, the proposal only referred to trucks. Trucks under 12 tonnes were even to be given an eight-year transitional period. Despite all these concessions, the countries were unable to reach agreement. For some countries, including Austria, for example, the concessions are very accommodating, as the prevailing vignette system is to remain in place. On 25 October 2018, a majority in Parliament voted in favour of the Commission's proposal to replace the time-based vignette system. The core of the proposal was a two-stage abolition of timebased vignettes. Instead, the Commission argued in favour of a digitised route-based toll based on the user principle. According to this principle, the distances travelled by road users on the relevant routes were to be measured and then used as the basis for calculating the toll. A charging system based on distance should better reflect the actual level of use, emissions and pollution. By 2023 a distance-based toll should be introduced for trucks and by 2027 for all 4 vehicles of "other categories", including passenger cars. In addition, zero-emission cars should pay 75 % less than others and the general level of the road user charge should be made dependent on the vehicle's CO2 and other air pollution performance and other external costs, such as noise or congestion.


Once again, the problems of European environmental and climate policy are evident. The abolition of time-based vignettes should serve, among other things, to promote the decarbonisation of transport. Only four days earlier, the European Parliament declared a climate and environmental crisis. The Parliament declared that the EU should commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. MEPs also call on the Commission to ensure that all relevant legislative and budgetary proposals are fully in line with the objective of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C. The Commission should also ensure that all relevant legislative and budgetary proposals are fully in line with the objective of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C. The Commission should also ensure that all relevant legislative and budgetary proposals are fully in line with the objective of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C.


In a separate resolution, Parliament urges the EU to present its strategy for achieving climate neutrality to the UN Convention on Climate Change as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest. MEPs call on the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to include a reduction target of 55% of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Green Deal by 2030.

See also EAC position paper (June 2019): Uniform Car Toll Rules for the Single European Transport Area.

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