Cross-border interoperability of EU electronic road toll systems is finally here

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Credit: Monty Rakusen

The last trialogue on the “EETS Cross-border interoperability”, which is a part of the Mobility Package I, took place yesterday with positive results.

The objective was to achieve the interoperability of all electronic road toll systems in the EU in order to avoid proliferation of incompatible systems, which may compromise both smooth operations of the internal market and the achievement of transport policy objectives. Road users, such as truck drivers, experience an administrative burden, because they have to switch between toll systems when driving from one Member State to the other. This directive is, therefore, an important step forward for Member States and for road users throughout the Union.

Our ALDE Shadow, MEP Matthijs Van Miltenburg, succeeded to influence the negotiations to the point that final agreement contains the following very important issues:

· Measures, which would further facilitate the cross-border enforcement of the payment of road fees in the EU, including possible mutual assistance between Member States.

· Pointing out that the mid- to long-term objective is to make it possible to travel across the Union with only one on-board equipment, in order to avoid administrative burden and costs for road users and to facilitate the free movement of people and goods in the Union, without negatively affecting competition on the market.

· Including automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) as a part of tolling systems, as they are particularly suitable for small domains, such as city tolls and can be particularly useful when combined with other technologies in order to enhance the tolling procedure.

· Facilitating the cross-border exchange of information on failures to pay a road fee implies also processing personal data — our shadow paid particular attention to the respect of this requirement, in full compliance with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) requirements, in order to ensure the proper protection of personal data.

· In the future, the potential of applying other emerging technologies to electronic tolling merit exploration, and our shadow insisted on that this Directive should further facilitate interoperability and ensure that national toll collection markets are governed by equivalent rules.

· Reliable, user-friendly and cost-efficient systems suited to the future development of a harmonized road-charging policy at EU level and to the future technological developments, underlining the necessity to make electronic tolls interoperable, in order to reduce the cost and burden linked to the payment of tolls across the Union.

On the final agreement, Mr Van Miltenburg said:

“Our goal to make it possible to travel in the future across the Union with only one on-board equipment was broadly adopted by negotiating parties. Last but not least, one of our priorities, the assessment of the possible extension of the provisions facilitating cross-border enforcement to low emission zones, restricted access zones or other urban vehicle access regulation schemes was also welcomed by the negotiation team.”

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