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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
Agreement among Transport Ministers on the Eurovignette

Date of release : 21-04-2005

Policy area : Transport, Telecommmunications and Energy Transport, Telecommmunications and Energy

Event : Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council

The Transport Ministers of the European Union met in Luxembourg on 21 April 2005 and reached an agreement on the Eurovignette.

At the end of the Council’s session on this topic, Lucien Lux, current President of the "Transport" Council, stated that he was "very pleased" that a political agreement was reached on this "very sensitive topic," whilst an agreement was impossible under the Irish and Dutch presidencies.

"Over the past few days, today, and in the final hours, all the Ministers of every Member State without exception have demonstrated considerable flexibility, responsibility and good sense in order to reach this agreement," Luxembourg’s Minister for Transport added.

"This is a very important agreement" for the future of transport policy in Europe because it will make progress possible on a large number of issues", he continued.

Lucien Lux paid special tribute to the efforts of the previous presidencies because the Luxembourg Presidency built on these.

"I also praise the courage of the Austrian delegation, and particularly Austria’s Transport Minister, Hubert Gorbach, who fought like a lion these past weeks for an agreement acceptable to his country, and who today showed remarkable good sense to contribute to reaching this agreement."

"I think that the directive gives us the opportunity not just to advance the common transport policy and to help improve the modal split between railways and motorways on the railway side because congestion, pollution, and safety issues on our motorways is where we really need a fundamental change," the Minister continued.

Lucien Lux stressed the importance he places on the possibility of taking environmental impacts into account in surcharges and, in this same context, on the possibility of investing more in alternative means of transport.

"The Luxembourg Presidency has done everything to ensure a broad consensus. We did not wish to take advantage of the qualified majority to isolate any delegations," Lucien Lux emphasised.

Nonetheless, he did indicate that the matter is far from being closed, and that discussions with the European Parliament look difficult in view of the gap that persists between the Council’s position and the European Parliament’s position.

As for frequent-user discounts, the ceiling was set at 13% of the normal rate. With regard to funding for alternative infrastructures, the revenue generated by the potential increases amounts to 15% for projects that are national in scope and the toll is set at 25% for transborder projects.

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This page was last modified on : 21-04-2005

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