(adds details on the deal, quotes after news conference)
BRUSSELS Dec 1 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
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)