The German state should not have taken the costs for the traffic police into account in the survey, ruled the European judges. Now there is a risk of high loss of income.
DGermany has for years collected a toll that is too high for trucks. The European Court of Justice ruled this on Wednesday in Luxembourg and thus approved a Polish freight forwarding company. The German state should not have taken into account the costs for the traffic police in the survey. The European judges made it clear that only infrastructure costs can be claimed.
This includes the costs of construction as well as the operation, maintenance and expansion of the relevant transport network. “Police activities, however, are the responsibility of the state, which exercises sovereign powers and does not merely act as the operator of the road infrastructure,” the judgment says.
The European judges have thus paved the way for extensive repayments. In the specific case, these are still manageable: the freight forwarder had paid a total of around EUR 12,420.53 in a period of one and a half years from January 2010. The costs of the traffic police at that time were a maximum of 6 percent.
However, the overall financial damage is likely to be significantly greater, since the toll may no longer be levied to this extent in the future. The Federal Ministry of Transport expects to date annual income of around 7.2 billion euros on average for the years 2018 to 2022. Since January 2019, the toll has been between 9.3 cents and 26.1 cents per kilometer.
The Higher Administrative Court for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia had asked the European Court of Justice for clarification. The judges there must now make a final decision on the matter before the repayment can be made. (Case C-321/19)