The European Union has given Britain an ultimatum: the United Kingdom either change its transport levies or face proceedings in front of the European Court of Justice.

The European Commission is requesting the United Kingdom to fulfil all the requirements of the Eurovignette Directive (1999/62/EC) on road charging for heavy goods vehicles – as can be read in the February infringements package published by the European Commission on Wednesday.

This directive sets principles regarding when EU member states apply annual taxes, tolls or vignettes to heavy goods vehicles. The European Commission views the levy introduced for heavy goods vehicles by the United Kingdom in 2014 to be a tax which can be charged solely by the Member State of registration. The Commission also considers that this levy discriminates foreign hauliers against UK hauliers who are compensated through a reduction on the annual tax paid of vehicles registered in the United Kingdom. 

The EU Commission decided that the United Kingdom would have two months to notify the EU’s executive board of implementing measures; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU. 

As declared in the Withdrawal Agreement, EU law continues to apply in full to the UK for the duration of the transition period. In particular, the UK remains subject to the EU’s enforcement mechanisms, such as infringement procedures.

Photo: KRoock74/ Wikimedia Commons

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