Last reviewed 25 November 2020

Germany has for a second time seen the EU’s Court of Justice (CJEU) rule that its policy on road tolls breaches European law.

In 2019, it wanted to introduce a toll for passenger cars which would have applied mainly to those from other countries and was told (in the ruling in Case C-591/17) that this was discriminatory.

Now a Polish haulage firm has seen its case arguing that Germany’s highway tolls for lorries are too high go from the German courts to the CJEU.

In Case C-321/19 (curia.europa.eu), the company claimed that the method of calculating the tolls which they were obliged to pay breached EU law.

The German court then asked the CJEU whether the fact that costs related to traffic police were included in the calculation of the tolls at issue constituted an infringement of Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) for the use of certain road infrastructures.

The EU Court decided that only the infrastructure costs referred to in Article 7(9) of the Directive can be taken into account when setting tolls. Costs related to traffic police do not fall within the concept of “costs of operating”.

The case now returns to the German court for it to give a final decision but, having raised the question with the CJEU, it is now bound to follow the EU Court’s ruling.

It seems likely that tolls will be reduced once the case is finally settled.