EESC opinion: Eurovignette

Key points:

  • The EESC considers that the introduction by the EU of a fair, transparent, non-discriminatory and non-bureaucratic system of road pricing that is proportionate to road use, while complying with the "user pays" and "polluter pays" principles, would have a positive impact by combating the deterioration of road infrastructure, congestion and pollution.
  • As the transport sector plays a vital role in the EU's mobility and socio-economic development, the Committee is concerned that spending on road infrastructure maintenance has fallen, in spite of the new EU framework for the development of the trans-European Transport Network introduced at the end of 2013 and measures supported by the EU structural funds. In the EESC's view, it is crucial that revenues from the use of road infrastructure be allocated as follows: those relating to the use of infrastructure should go to cover the costs of building, developing, operating and maintaining road infrastructure, while those connected with external costs should be earmarked for measures to mitigate the negative effects of road transport.
  • The Committee sees the revision of the Eurovignette legislation as an opportunity to set common, harmonised standards and to monitor and step up the proper application of this legislation. Moreover,
  • the EESC considers it essential that the internal transport market be free of discriminatory practices and urges the EC to take action to rapidly ensure full compliance with the EU legislative framework. In particular, the charges applied and discounts for regular and/or national users must not discriminate against occasional and/or non-national users.
  • The Committee considers that special attention must be given to the acceptability of measures to users, consumers and the general public in terms of the transparency and clarity of the new charging framework, ensuring that users have an immediate and clear appreciation of the purpose of the amounts collected.
  • Finally, the EESC is convinced that allocating revenues derived from the application of the new legislation could generate additional employment for more than half a million workers.