AUTHORS: Ian Skinner
The Briefing includes a note of a recent workshop on this legislation, which was organised by the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) in Brussels on 28 November 2003
The existing Eurovignette Directive (Directive 1999/62/EC) governs the application of tolls and charges on commercial vehicles using EU roads. It is considered necessary to have such a framework at the EU level in order to ensure that Member States do not introduce tolls or charges that discriminate against foreign hauliers or adversely affect the functioning of the internal single market. Directive 1999/96 sets the conditions for the maintenance and introduction of tolls or charges and the maximum levels, which these must not exceed, as well as the minimum rates of vehicle taxation that should be applied. In parallel, a proposed Directive on the interoperability of road user charging systems is being developed.
In addition, another Directive (2003/96/EC) will, from 1 January 2004, set minimum duty rates for fuels in the transport sector, as well as for other energy products. The latter, however, are very low thresholds by UK standards, so will have little or no direct effect on fuel duty in the UK. The Directive does, however, empower Member States to give rebates to road hauliers in the event of a road charging system being introduced.