Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *

Portugal's SCUT tolls definitely are illegal

tollsThe European Commission has threatened to take the Portuguese government to court if it does not change rules that infringe Community law in relation to tolls on formerly free Scut roads.

The original complaint from Aveiro council was lodged when the tolls were imposed. This was assessed by the European Commission which asked Portugal’s government for additional comment and analysis on its toll schemes on formerly free roads.

The European Commission today upheld the complaint from Aveiro council against the Portuguese government and it restated that the tolls are indeed illegal. The Commission now threatens legal action in the European Court of Justice if the tolls are not scrapped forthwith.

Aveiro council argued that the introduction of tolls on former Scuts is "an unjustified violation of the principle of free movement of people and a flagrant violation of the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of nationality."

Given the facts, the Commission upheld the complaint from Aveiro against the Portuguese government.

In a statement following the original judgement, Aveiro council added that Brussels had requested clarification from the Portuguese Government as the initial response was insufficient to justify tolls on Scut roads.

The European Commission has decided that it was right all along and that the collection of tolls on Scut roads indeed is illegal.

For lawyer Ricardo Oliveira from PLMJ, the opinion of Brussels should have the same impact for all Scut roards, not just the one in Aveiro council’s area, as "the legislation in question is general but the Commission should presumably be concerned with all Scut roads used by citizens of other member states who travel to Portugal."

The lawyer said that Portugal’s government could end up being fined, but added that it will not have to return Community funds given to build roads and motorways, since "there is no allegation that these funds were misused."

If Portugal’s government is fined, the taxpayer will be hit with further costs associated with the toll system.

More annoyingly, these cases can take around three years to be heard.

Aveiro council said that its councillors will continue to monitor this process and may takes additional steps involving MEPs responsible for transport to get the illegal tolls system banned.

Comments  

-5 #11 Karel 2015-06-13 21:41
This becomes a nice story and very typical Portugese: everybody does his saying and nobody knows exactely what's on. In the end of course there will be 50 more "new" stories....and that's the reason why all residents are mostly "disturbed". If we should stop all gossip life should be far more easier in Portugal, believe me !
Quote
-4 #10 dw 2015-06-12 15:41
I think the legal argument is about non-Portuguese registered vehicles being treated differently with regard to the toll system arrangements.
Quote
-4 #9 liveaboard 2015-06-12 12:50
I could be wrong, but I believe this case is based on the local residents getting to use the highway for 10 free trips per month; a policy which was scrapped after the first year, due to the case.
The tolls were not deemed illegal, only the preferential treatment of locals. so they stopped the preferential treatment.
Or is the story referring to another case?
Quote
+5 #8 John Haigh 2015-06-12 11:50
Portugal will just pay the fine and carry on charging tolls like they do with vehicle import duties. :zzz
Quote
-6 #7 Duke 2015-06-12 10:45
POD - yes I understand that part of the rationale, but surely 'free' doesn't have to be defined as 'at no cost'. Of course there is a huge conversation that can be had about who pays for the upkeep of the road and whether that is the responsibility of government etc, but I still don't agree that tolls restrict free movement. The cost of using them by business is probably passed on to the end consumer anyway - but the choice still remains to use the toll road or not and no restriction is placed on anyone who wishes to do so.

It's a good conversation to be had over a dinner or a beer I think.

Quoting POD:
Duke, I think the point is that these roads were built with the aid of EU funds to improve the infrastructure of the country in line with EU ideals of free movement, economic development etc. To now put tolls on these roads obviously creates an obstacle both in terms of cost and administration. If such an obstacle now hinders a company from Spain from what was free access, well then the Commission decision makes every sense.
Quote
0 #6 Chip the Duck 2015-06-12 10:33
Quoting Duke:


Can anyone please explain how putting tolls on a road [either] "restricts the free movement of people" ...


Some people cannot afford the tolls Duke. If someone lives in Lagos and commutes to Faro he/she will have to pay €12 per day; beyond the pockets of most local people. I would have thought that was obvious.
Peter Booker makes the point perfectly, which is why he has so many positive votes. The PT government don't give a monkeys what the EU/European Court say - only the Brits kowtow to Brussels.
Quote
-4 #5 Simon Miles 2015-06-12 10:21
There is an interesting wikipedia on this at :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toll_roads_in_Europe

There are a lot of these toll roads about - particularly in southern Europe. Many claiming to be privately funded and recouping their costs from tolls.

Although it doesn't make exactly clear, when built by Public Private Partnerships - as so often in Portugal - whether the public component was diverted from EU funds.
Quote
+9 #4 POD 2015-06-12 09:46
Duke, I think the point is that these roads were built with the aid of EU funds to improve the infrastructure of the country in line with EU ideals of free movement, economic development etc. To now put tolls on these roads obviously creates an obstacle both in terms of cost and administration. If such an obstacle now hinders a company from Spain from what was free access, well then the Commission decision makes every sense.
Quote
-10 #3 Duke 2015-06-12 09:27
Ok this isn't really a comment about the tolls ... there's been enough said on that and my contribution will make no difference at all - but I do have a comment about the complaint that was made from Aveiro and which has apparently been upheld.

Can anyone please explain how putting tolls on a road either "restricts the free movement of people" or how it is "discriminatory on the grounds of Nationality"?

The fact that there are tolls does not prevent anyone from moving freely and are applicable to all who use them regardless of any other factor. If this ruling can be upheld by the European court, as much as it might be what the toll protesters want to hear ... it's alarming because it's nonsense.

Not saying anything about whether the tools are right or wrong - but the complaint as it was made in my view is ridiculous and the ruling equally so. Unless of course I am actually missing the point that was made.
Quote
+12 #2 Peter Booker 2015-06-12 06:56
Even if the illegal toll system is banned, what will make the government of Portugal abolish the tolls? That´s right, nothing. They will continue with the tolls, and carry on being fined. Only the taxpayer pays, and he is not necessarily even a user under the "user pays" nonsense.
Quote