(adds details on the deal, quotes after news conference)
BRUSSELS, Dec 1 (Reuters) - The European Commission and the German government agreed to settle differences over Germany’s plan to introduce a highway toll for cars after months of dispute, EU officials said on Thursday.
The German parliament approved last year a road charging system that would have hit only foreign drivers, but the plan was kept on hold after the EU Commission complained it would have been discriminatory and so against EU rules.
“I am pleased that after years of discussions, (we) have found a solution to ensure that German roads will remain easily accessible for all EU citizens,” EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said.
Under the deal, Germany will introduce a highway toll for cars registered abroad with prices linked to environmental criteria. Less polluting cars will pay less, with a minimum of 2.50 euros for a 10-day pass and a maximum of 20 euros.
The maximum annual cost for a foreign vehicles would be 130 euros.
Vehicles registered in Germany will pay the toll but will get corresponding tax deductions, which will decrease for less environmentally friendly cars.
“The toll charge makes sense and is fair and just. It ensures that all drivers contribute adequately to the financing of our motorways,” German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said after the deal was reached in Brussels. (Reporting by Tom Koerkemeier and Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)