Tolls Cannot Discriminate Against Foreigners

On 14 May 2012 the European Commission released guidelines for road tolls on private passenger vehicles. The most important point: foreigners must not be disadvantaged in comparison to residents. This also applies to transit traffic charges. Siim Kallas, Vice President of the EU Commission, explains: "Non-discrimination is a basic right anchored in EU law. It has to be just as easy for a French or British citizen to drive through Slovenia or Belgium as it is for residents of the respective country. Systems for collecting road tolls must be transparent and fair for all."

Seven EU members currently charge tolls on private vehicles. Road tax discs valid for a limited time are issued in Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Implementation is planned in Belgium while discussions are underway in Denmark and the Netherlands. The EU Commission has taken action in the past against every system that disadvantaged foreign drivers. This is why Austria already had to change its road tax disc system in 1996. Treaty violation proceedings were initiated against Slovenia in 2008 because it offered only six-month road tax discs as the shortest time period. Weekly road tax discs have also become available in the meantime.

The problem of the difference in the average daily price based on the pricing of a short-term road tax disc – which is of particular interest to transit travelers – and a road tax disc with a long validity period – especially the annual road tax disc which is especially interesting for residents – appears to have been resolved to the Commission's satisfaction by the countries with a toll system. The highest ratio is 8.6. According to the European road tax disc guideline for heavy commercial vehicles, a short-term road tax disc can cost a maximum of 7.3 times as much based on a single day.

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