Italian transport organisations sue EU Commission over Brenner

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Italian road haulage associations are preparing a lawsuit against the European Commission for not taking any actions against Austria's Brenner policy. The Austrian state of Tyrol has imposed various bans on HGV traffic on the Brenner pass, which Italian organisations find to be a disproportionate action that blocks the free movement of goods and breaches EU law.

Italian transport organisations sue EU Commission over Brenner

Italian road freight organisations ANITA, FAI and FEDIT have hired a team of lawyers to start a lawsuit against the EU Commission for inaction regarding Austria, on the already debated issues of the various HGV bans that have been imposed unilaterally by Tyrol.

The step comes after the European Commissioners’ Directorates-General for Internal Market, Transport and Environment published a confidential document in December 2020 which called on the EU Commission to initiate infringement proceedings against Austria because of the HGV bans on the Brenner pass.

The Italian South Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce also asked for a legal opinion about the bans from Peter Hilpold in February and September to support their views. The study confirmed that neither the “sectoral driving ban” nor the night driving ban in Tyrol are compatible with EU law.

As the European Commission still hasn’t taken any legal steps on the issue, the Italian associations now see a lawsuit as the only way to get a reaction to their demands.

“In view of the political inaction, legal action is the only way to get direct answers to our legitimate demands on the Brenner question, which is all the more urgent since Tyrol has announced even more restrictive measures for the sectoral ban,” said Thomas Baumgartner, ANITA- President and President of Fercam AG.

Speed limits, sectoral bans, night-time bans and block handling

Italian opinion about the bans being disproportionate is shared by 12 other countries.

In March, transport organisations from Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania and Sweden and the International Road Transport Union wrote to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen calling for European Commission action against driving bans for HVGs in Tyrol.

Tyrol has imposed restrictions on commercial goods vehicles pointing to problems with poor air quality, while at the same time increasing speed limits for cars for the same reason.

These measures are contradictory, disproportionate and block the free movement of goods, breaching the fundamental law of the European Union” – reads the letter. –“Tyrol has already been condemned twice by the Court of Justice of the European Union for trying to restrict goods transport by road without providing adequate alternatives.”

The transportation organisation claimed that driving bans, block handling and night bans are obstructing truck movements and leading to extreme congestion when roads reopen in the mornings.

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