IRU - International Road Transport Union

05/15/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/15/2024 08:44

Austria’s north-south road corridor blockages are illegal, confirms EU

The European Commission has released its official response to a complaint by the Italian government, clearly outlining several breaches of EU law by Austria. As repeatedly stated by the commercial road goods transport sector, several traffic bans imposed by Austria against heavy goods vehicles are hampering the free movement of goods by road through one of the key trade corridors, in breach of EU law.

IRU welcomes the European Commission's reasoned opinion on Italy's complaint against Austria's heavy goods vehicle traffic bans.

It clearly identified breaches of Articles 34 and 35 of the Treaty for the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). These articles do not allow Member States to impose quantitative restrictions between Member States.

IRU EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian said, "The European Commission's opinion on Austria's traffic bans is crystal clear. We congratulate Italy for its great initiative, taking action against abuses and keeping this essential trade corridor flowing.

"However, this is only the beginning. IRU, its members and the entire European road freight transport and logistics industry are eager to see what steps will be undertaken by Italy, and especially the Commission, to remedy the identified breaches.

"Long-standing negotiations at the government level have proven to be unsuccessful. We need action now. With this precious confirmation in its hands, we expect Italy to fight this further in the Court of Justice with the European Commission's support."

The reasoned opinion provides a clear confirmation of the Austrian traffic bans' lack of compatibility with TFEU provisions. This concern has been raised many times by IRU and several national road goods transport associations over recent years without a satisfactory response from the European Commission until now.

Austria's bans are major impediments to trade between Italy and other Member States, including the trade of essential agricultural products, which prompted Italy to take action.