Germany is set to delay the launch of its controversial car toll scheme, according to the transport ministry. The EU is expected to announce a legal challenge against it as early as Thursday.
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt, who is from Germany's conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) party, has announced he is to delay the introduction of a road toll scheme that would only charge foreigners and motorists whose vehicles are not registered in Germany.
Dobrindt told German daily "Bild" that Germany would "adhere to the rule of law and await a court decision." He was referring to the European Commission's plans to launch legal proceedings against Germany. An announcement to that effect is expected as early as Thursday.
Last month, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said there were "serious doubts" that the car toll scheme was in line with the bloc's objective not to discriminate against foreign nationals.
But Dobrindt says he is prepared for a "tough fight" with the Commission and that he would not "deviate from our course to bring more justice to our roads," he told "Bild."
On Twitter, the CSU insisted that it's "up to Germany and Germany alone to decide how to collect car taxes."
The car toll is a pet project for junior coalition partner CSU, the conservative Bavarian arm of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats. The Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left party are against the charge as envisaged by the CSU.
ng/jil (AFP, dpa)