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

4.3.1. Eurovignette system 
The Eurovignette system was introduced by Directive 93/89/EEC 122 . Since this 
Directive was annulled by the European Court of Justice because the European 
Parliament had not been consulted properly before adoption of the Directive 123 , it was 
subsequently replaced by the very similar Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of 
heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures 124 . 
According to Article 2 of the Directive in force, there is a basic distinction between 
tolls, which are charges for the use of a certain piece of infrastructure, and user charges, 
which confer the right to use the whole network for a given period. This user charge is 
symbolised by the so called Eurovignette. Both, tolls and user charges, may only be 
levied on the use of motorways or other similar multi-lane roads, bridges, tunnels and 
mountain passes 125 . Though, a generalised user charge referring to the whole road 
network of a Member State does not fall within the field of application of the Directive 
in question 126 . 
In the Eurovignette system, fixed charges are imposed on the use of motorways which 
apply only to vehicles with a total weight of 12 tonnes or more. The annual charge is 
differentiated according to the damage the vehicle causes to the environment and to the 
roads, criteria being the number of axles and the emissions. 
Article 7(7) of the Directive harmonises the amount of the user charge by setting 
maximum rates ranging from EUR 750 per year for the most environmentally friendly 
vehicles with a maximum of three axles, up to EUR 1550 per year for the most polluting 
category of vehicles with four axles or more. 
As the charge is paid on an annual basis, the distances driven are not taken into account, 
which contradicts a pricing system based on the polluter-pays principle as well as on 
122 Council Directive 93/89/EEC. of 25 October 1993. on the application by Member States of taxes on 
certain vehicles used for the carriage of goods by road and tolls and charges for the use of certain 
infrastructures. OJ L 279 . 12 November 1993. p.32. 
123 Judgment of 5 July 1995. in case C-21/94, European Parliament v. Council, [1995] ECR1-1827. 
124 Council and European Parliament Directive 1999/62/EC. of 17 June 1999. on the charging of heavy 
goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures. OJ L 187. 20 July 1999. p.42. 
125 Article 7(2) of Directive 1999/62/EC. 
126 See supra, note 115. p.105.


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