Volltext: The Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention: Added Value to the Transport Policy of the European Community?

Up to now, these external costs are supported by the society as a whole. This is 
equivalent to an indirect subsidy which makes transport, especially on the road, too 
cheap and, due to the "significant distortions of competition within and between 
modes" 117 , generates a disproportionate growth in this field of economic activity. "By 
internalising the full costs, this vicious circle, which is damaging to both the economy 
and the environment, can be stopped." 118 
Already in the White Paper "Fair payment for infrastructure use" of 1998, the 
Commission analyses this problem and proposes the inclusion of external costs 119 . In 
the White Paper "European transport policy for 2010: time to decide" of 2001, the 
Commission develops and generalises this concept: 
"The fundamental principle of infrastructure charging is that the charge for using 
infrastructure must cover not only infrastructure costs, but also external costs, that 
is, costs connected with accidents, air pollution, noise and congestion. This goes 
for all modes of transport and all categories of user, both private and 
commercial." 120 
As we can see, the Commission's position concerning the internalisation of external 
costs as stated in the above mentioned White Papers is close to the requirements of the 
Transport Protocol. The decisive difference lies in the legal nature of these legal 
documents. The White Paper is of a programmatic nature, not legally binding. The 
Transport Protocol as an agreement of public international law would upgrade the actual 
Commission's position to a legally binding requirement for future legislation in these 
fields. However, one can doubt about the importance of this gradual difference 
considering the fact that external costs are far from being internalised, despite the 
Commission's White Papers. Additionally, the Transport Protocol does not prescribe 
any period within which this has to been changed 121 . 
In the field of charges for the use of infrastructure, some interesting questions arise 
relating to the Eurovignette system, the Brenner case, and the Ecopoint system. 
117 White Paper on Fair payment for infrastructure use. A phased approach to a common transport 
infrastructure charging framework in the EU. COM (1998) 466 final, p.5. 
118 See supra, note 49. p.8. 
119 See supra, note 117. p.26. 
120 White Paper on a European transport policy for 2010: time to decide. COM (2001) 370 final, p.70. 
121 See supra, note 108.


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