Charging HGVs for infrastructure
Mr President, Madam Vice-President, ladies and gentlemen, I would first like warmly to thank the rapporteur, Mr Cocilovo, for his efforts, his commitment and also his readiness to compromise on many points. The fact that I am nevertheless dissatisfied will perhaps be of some assistance to him in his dealings with Mr Jarzembowski, because he stands somewhere in the middle between the various opinions predominating in this house.
I would like to take up two subjects that have already been debated today. One relates to the level of the toll and the fear of many people that excessively high toll will be levied. I believe that each country, each region will always have to consider for itself whether the toll might have adverse effects on competition, and so an upper limit will automatically be imposed here. In addition, even if there are some relatively high toll fees – such as, for example, those charged for the Brenner – thousands and thousands of drivers have not been deterred from continuing to make use of the Brenner. What this means is that, provided that the fee is not so high that it has a prohibitive effect, we have witnessed an increasing use of goods vehicles for many years.
The second problem, which has not been adequately resolved, has to do with the external costs. I acknowledge that the rapporteur has made suggestions here which have also been accepted by the majority of the committee and which relate to the possibility of allocating external costs, that is to say, environmental costs. The whole question turns on the need for the Commission to make proposals – which, unfortunately, it has not done. I have been a Member of this Parliament for two parliamentary terms and there has been constant discussion of this, but no concrete proposals for charging methods have ever been made. Hence also the motions which had been proposed by my party, including with my signature, for an initial statement that the Commission will make specific recommendations for charging methods within two years and, secondly, the proposal that, until that is the case, reasonable – that is to say, non-arbitrary – national charging methods can be used.
I would be happy if, at least on the first point, relating to the invitation to the Commission to make proposals within two years, we could achieve consensus even today. This would greatly promote the formation of opinions and therefore also the subsequent negotiations with the Council. Nevertheless, warm thanks to the rapporteur. It is a good, but not yet satisfactory, solution that has been produced.