Tiefensee: green light EC to HGV innovation programme

Berlin, Germany – 2007-01-24 the European Commission has given the green light to an innovation programme for promoting the purchase of low-emission heavy goods vehicles (HGV). Thus, the preconditions for a swift national implementation of alternative harmonization measures have been created.

The Federal Minister of Transport, Mr Wolfgang Tiefensee, is highly satisfied with the decision taken by the Commission:
"It is good that the Commission has decided quickly. We will do everything we can in order to ensure that the programme and the planned lowering of the motor vehicle tax can enter into force in the middle of this year at the latest. Thus, we will meet the requirements laid down in the toll compromise of 2003."

The innovation programme and the lowering of the motor vehicle tax for heavy goods vehicles to the minimum rate admissible according to EU legislation will bring us much closer to our aim of improving the conditions of competition of the German road haulage industry. The Federal Government will thus comply with the provisions of an agreement concluded with the Bundestag (German Parliament) and the Bundesrat (Council of Constituent States) in May 2003. This agreement provides for the launching of an innovation programme and the lowering of the motor vehicle tax should the toll reimbursement scheme be rejected by the Commission.

The innovation programme envisages financial assistance to be provided for the purchase of those vehicles that comply with EU exhaust emission standards (EURO standards) that are not yet legally binding. The assistance will be granted either by way of low-interest loans or in the form of direct investment grants. The programme will have a volume of 100 million euros per year and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (Reconstruction Loan Corporation – KfW) will be the grant-awarding agency. The planned lowering of the motor vehicle tax will have an annual volume of 150 million euros.

"We will now speedily initiate the legislative procedure for the amendment of provisions governing motor vehicle tax and motorway tolls and will present the bills to the competent committees of the Bundestag for the final reading. Afterwards, the average toll rate will be increased from 12.4 cents/km to 13.5 cents/km", said Mr Tiefensee.

After the European Commission had, in January 2006, not authorized the toll reimbursement scheme as a result of its review to ensure compliance with state aid rules, the road haulage industry had elaborated a new toll bonus system providing for mineral oil tax paid in Germany to be credited against the tolls payable. The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs presented this proposal of the road haulage industry to the Commission in a prenotificati

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EC authorises German aid to heavy vehicles