When Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt smiles, he has recently started to look rather insecure. It's a smile with nothing behind it but teeth. In the role of General Secretary of the CSU, he was even more confident in the drum. When he presented his ministry's toll plans as an “infrastructure charge for all motorists” on Monday, his hair seemed disheveled by the media headwind and Dobrindt seemed even more insecure. You just can't get rid of the feeling that he is reluctant to implement his party leader's toll pledge, without which Horst Seehofer would not have signed or even would not have signed it in the coalition agreement.
Why does Dobrindt seem so insecure when it comes to tolls? Because the Chancellor vowed that there would be no toll with her? However, she signed the coalition agreement including tolls, which has nothing to do with Ms. Merkel. As we know, extending the lifespan of a nuclear power plant can shorten it within a few weeks. The Chancellor complains about legal uncertainty in China and promotes it at home. But that's another story.
So why the uncertainty? Alexander Dobrindt does not want to become a Drohbrindt. He is highly sensitive when it comes to published opinions. That is an explanation. Perhaps there is also another one: that there have long been plans to tax German drivers more, which is likely. Not immediately for the introduction of the toll, but in a year or two, when it has been found that the income is not enough to rehabilitate roads and bridges, because the income seeps away somewhere in the general household.
Contrary to the mainstream of the German media and numerous politicians, Dobrindt's toll plans are currently absolutely European-compliant. And it is once again remarkable how well-known media distort the facts and the emotional component, the gut feeling higher than the legal situation. For example, Spiegel online overwrites a video with the claim that Dobrindt wants to “introduce a car toll for foreign vehicles”. Absolutely wrong. Because Dobrindt wants to introduce a toll for everyone, including German car owners. The fact that he himself mentions 170 million trips by foreign cars through Germany as the basis, or even the reason, for a toll increases the gut feeling of discrimination against foreign owners. Of course, this, somehow understandable, calls on every EU harmonization enthusiast to loudly complain about this as a violation of the European principle of equal treatment.
So let us adhere to European law: According to this, each country sovereignly determines how and whether and how much car tax is to be claimed by car owners. Germany can therefore lower vehicle taxes at will without having to call Brussels, as a commentator at Spiegel online, whom I highly appreciate, calls for. According to the letter of the law, this is no trickery, but clearly within the scope of the political sovereignty of Berlin, which, on the other hand, is upset that companies also exercise their rights if they make their taxes internationally just as legally. Is another topic.
It is difficult to have a gut feeling, but to act and think rightly. The media too. And rightly, the toll is not objectionable at the European level, as is now planned, if the German car owners are involved in the toll at the same amount. My only worry is that after two years the insatiable state will be able to rediscover the milking cow drivers to plug tax holes. And then the promise that German drivers should not be burdened by the toll is long forgotten.
ButTransport Minister Alexander Dobrindt in Bild even gives a toll guarantee in writing: “No vehicle owner in Germany pays more for his car than today in the course of the introduction of the car toll (…).” The back door is also in this sentence: “… in the course of the introduction of the Car toll…". Once it has been introduced, the introductory phase is over and you can continue to cash in. The fact that, contrary to the coalition agreement, country roads should now also be subject to tolls is a point at which the entire toll bill could still fail at the federal state level. But not with European law.