Opposition finds Scheuer statements untrustworthy

In Berlin, an investigative committee is to clarify the background to the burst car toll. Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer denies the central allegations. But the companies involved disagree.

Rejects any guilt: Andreas Scheuer.

VMinister of Transport Andreas Scheuer (CSU) has rejected central allegations in the clarification of the burst car toll, but the opposition considers his statements to be implausible. Scheuer said on Thursday evening as a witness in the investigative committee that at a meeting in November 2018 with managers of the later planned operating companies, he recalled that there was no offer to postpone the signing of the contract until the ECJ ruling. There was no reason to talk about postponing a signing date when it was not even foreseeable whether an agreement could be reached at all.

The opposition accuses Scheuer of lying in the Bundestag in September 2019. However, Scheuer confirmed the statement he made at the time that postponing the signing of the contract was not an issue at the meeting in November 2018.

“Memory gaps are no relief”

After Scheuer’s interrogation, however, the opposition sees many unanswered questions. The Greens chairman Stephan Kühn said early Friday morning in Berlin that Scheuer had “got into difficult waters” and that witnesses had incriminated him heavily. “He was unable to defend himself because he has memory and knowledge gaps at the crucial points.”

The FDP transport politician Oliver Luksic said that Scheuer’s statements were unbelievable. “Gaps in memory are no relief for the minister, the well-founded accusation of lying to parliament and the public still remains.”

The Union, on the other hand, was satisfied. Union chairman Ulrich Lange (CSU) said with a view to Scheuer: “He is a minister and he remains a minister.” SPD chairwoman Kirsten Lühmann said the survey did not provide the clarity that one had hoped for.

Companies disagree

In November 2018, Scheuer spoke to managers of the companies who were awarded the contract to collect the car toll at the end of 2018. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) overturned the car toll in June 2019 because it disadvantaged drivers from abroad.

Scheuer’s statements contradict those of representatives of the companies involved. The head of the consortium partner CTS Eventim, Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, had previously said in the committee that in the conversation in November 2018, also in view of open financing issues, he had offered to wait until the ECJ ruling before signing the contract. Scheuer decidedly rejected the offer. The head of the second consortium partner Kapsch, Georg Kapsch, confirmed this representation in the committee. Scheuer is accused of having concluded the contracts at the end of 2018 before there was legal certainty.