Europees Hof veroordeelt Oostenrijks verbod op lorry's (en)
Auteur: | By Lucia Kubosova
EUOBSERVER/BRUSSELS - Europe's top court has ruled that a lorry ban in the Tyrol region of Austria is illegal, as it goes beyond what is necessary to protect the environment.
The European Court of Justice argued in its decision on Tuesday (15 November) that the law obstructs the EU's provisions on free movement of goods.
The controversial legislation was adopted by the Land of Tyrol in 2003, and it bans lorries of over 7.5 tonnes carrying goods such as waste, stone, soil or motor vehicles, from using a 46 km section of the A 12 motorway in the Inn valley.
The Tyrolian authorities promoted the law on the basis that it would improve air quality in the area.
However, the European commission took the Austrians to court for infringing the principle of freedom of movement of goods in the EU internal market.
The Luxembourg-based court has now backed the commission, pointing out that the part of the road concerned is one of the main land routes between the north of Italy and southern Germany, and is therefore of "the utmost importance".
While admitting that the region can justify its move by referring to the existing EU laws on environment, judges suggested that the particular ban has been "disproportionate".
"Before adopting so radical a measure as a total prohibition on using a section of motorway constituting a vital communication link between certain member states, the Austrian authorities should have carefully examined the possibility of using less restrictive measures," the court stated.
Moreover, judges stressed that a longer transitional period for transport companies should have been secured, as "only two months for implementing the ban was clearly insufficient to allow the undertakings concerned reasonably to adjust to the new circumstances."