Germany: Method for calculating tolls on trans-European road network (CJEU judgment)

Germany: Calculating tolls on trans-European road

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) today released a judgment concluding that traffic police-related costs cannot be taken into account in the calculation of tolls for the use of the trans-European road network by heavy goods vehicles. Rather, according to the CJEU, these costs are not part of the infrastructure costs on the basis of which those toll rates must be calculated.

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The case is: BY and CZ v. Bundesrepublik Deutschland (C-321/19, 28 October 2020). Read a release [PDF 153 KB] from the CJEU.


Summary

BY and CZ (operators of a company governed by Polish law):

  • Engaged in the business of road haulage, and performed some of this service in Germany
  • Paid tolls, for the period from 1 January 2010 to 18 July 2011, for a total of approximately €12,420 for use of German federal motorways
  • Brought an action before the German courts for refund of the tolls, asserting that the method used to calculate the tolls was contrary to EU law

A German court referred the issue to the CJEU as to whether the fact that costs related to traffic police as included in the calculation of the tolls constituted an infringement of the directive on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain road infrastructures.

The CJEU today in its judgment found: (1) under the rules imposed on EU Member States, there was an obligation to determine the level of the tolls taking into account infrastructure costs only; and (2) costs related to traffic police could not be considered to be operating costs. 

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