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Eurovignette revision will remove truckers’ licence to pollute


20 Nov 2008


EU Priorities 2020

Brussels, 19 November 2008

Eurovignette revision will remove truckers’ licence to pollute

The revision of the Eurovignette Directive will put an end to the privileged situation of road
transport, politicians and experts agreed at a high level event hosted by the European rail sector
in Strasbourg on 18 November. Currently Member States are legally prevented from charging
trucks the true costs of their environmental impact. This distorts competition in the transport
sector, as other modes, such as rail, can already be charged for their external costs, in addition
to track access charges.

The dinner debate on the revision of the Eurovignette Directive was attended by several leading
Members of European Parliament as well as national and European officials. Transport currently
produces 27% of all CO2 emissions within the EU-27, of which road transport is responsible for a
massive 72% - a fact that makes firm actions on reducing CO2 emissions from road vehicles extremely

Speaking at the event, Said El Khadraoui, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the revision of the
Eurovignette Directive, welcomed the Commission’s initiative, including the proposal to earmark
revenues to develop more sustainable mobility. He said that this was a much needed first step to
bring the road sector in line with other modes. As a rapporteur he will call for the Directive to
encompass a broader range of external costs: “In addition to costs of congestion, local air pollution
and noise as proposed by the Commission, the revised Eurovignette directive should also allow
Member States to charge trucks for their CO2 emissions,” he said.

Marc Papinutti, Director of Transport and Infrastructure at the French Ministry of Ecology,
Development and Sustainable Planning, reconfirmed that the current French EU Presidency is aiming
to achieve substantial progress on the revision of the Directive in order to make an agreement
possible before the end of the current legislative period in June 2009. An agreement in first reading is
also strongly supported by the rail sector.

Michael Clausecker, Director General of UNIFE said:
“Although we would prefer a more ambitious directive, including CO2 emissions and accident costs,
given the urgency of the situation, we will support the European Commission, Council and Parliament
to achieve an agreement at first reading.”

Mathias Hellriegel, a leading legal expert in the use of regulation to tackle climate change, pointed
out that the Commission’s proposal does not oblige Member States to apply external cost charging:
“The revised Eurovignette would simply enable national governments to put the correct price tag on
road transport,” he said, bringing it into line with other modes, such as aviation and maritime which
are being brought into the emissions trading scheme. “Laws should apply to all competitors in a
market equally in order to allow prices to reflect true costs,” he added. Johannes Ludewig, CER
Executive Director, agreed: “The fact that road is protected, while rail as the greenest mode of
transport already accounts for its external costs through specific legislation and indirect participation
in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), slows down much needed modal shift from road to
rail. If the EU’s climate change goals are to be taken seriously, greenhouse gas emissions from the
transport sector must be reduced. Trucks must be charged for their impact on the environment,” he

EIM Secretary General Michael Robson highlighted the potential benefits of the Eurovignette revision:
“The Eurovignette will not lead to a significant increase in prices of goods. However, the directive
will send a price signals to make polluters finally pay.”

Backgound: The Eurovignette Directive sets out the common rules by which Member States can charge heavy goods
vehicles for the use of the road network. The current framework prevents governments from charging trucks for
their impact on the environment. The Commission proposed a revision on 8 July 2008 which will open up the
possibility for Member States to put the “polluter pays” principle into practice and help to create a more level
playing field between transport modes.

For further information, please contact:
Frank Schneider
CER Press and Communications Manager
phone +32 2 213 08 90
mobile +32 473 32 20 94

The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure
Companies (CER) brings together 71 railway undertakings and
infrastructure companies from all over Europe. CER represents
the interests of its members towards the European institutions as
well as other policy makers and transport actors. CER’s main
focus is promoting the strengthening of rail as essential to the
creation of a sustainable transport system which is efficient,
effective and environmentally sound. For more information, see

Patrick Keating
EIM Public Affairs Manager
phone +32 2 234 37 70
mobile +32 476 66 19 09

EIM, the association of European Rail Infrastructure Managers,
was established to promote the interests and views of the
independent infrastructure managers in Europe, following
liberalisation of the railway market, with a view to supporting the
development of the rail industry. It is a lobbying organisation
which also provides technical expertise to the appropriate
European bodies. To find out more about EIM, visit

Niall Doheny
UNIFE Head of Communications
phone +32 2 642 23 28
mobile +32 497 97 67 65
UNIFE represents the interests of the European Rail Industry
towards the European institutions, international railway
associations and other business relations. The European Rail
Industry provides competitive railway systems for increased rail
traffic and follows the objective of making rail transport the
sustainable solution for the challenges of the 21st century
mobility. The European Rail Industry consists of trend setting
industries in the field of rolling stock, infrastructure, information
technology and signalling, provision of part and services. For
more information, see