Date

30 Jun 2008

Sections

Transport

Press release

EIM and UNIFE reject the road transport sector’s argument that the European Commission’s planned revision of the Eurovignette Directive will penalise the EU economy without achieving its environmental objectives.

In its statement “Polluter pays, problem stays,” released on 25 June, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) claimed that the proposal to implement the "Polluter Pays" principle in the revision of the Eurovignette Directive, which sets out a framework for road charging rules across the EU, would undermine the EU’s “Lisbon goals” for economic growth, jobs and competitiveness. However, experience shows that this argument is flawed; in regions where such schemes are already in force, there is no evidence of reduced competitiveness. Switzerland, for example, is still ranked as the most competitive country in Europe, despite the implementation of the Heavy Vehicle Fee several years ago. In fact, research has shown that charging schemes which take account of “external costs” such as pollution can have an overall positive economic effect, especially when the revenues are wisely used to promote the use of other modes of transport.