HC Deb 07 June 1990 vol 173 c694W
Mr. Amos

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the decision by the West German Government to impose a lorry tax on foreign vehicles.

Mr. Atkins

The German Government have announced that from 1 July they will introduce a new lorry tax for all vehicles using German roads. The EC Commission considers this tax to be in contravention of articles 5, 76 and 95 of the EC treaty of Rome. On 10 April the Commission served the German Government with an article 169 letter, the first step in a process leading to the European Court of Justice. On 17 May my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport wrote to the EC Transport Commissioner Van Miert congratulating the Commission on this positive step. He also wrote to the West German Transport Minister expressing concern at effects on United Kingdom hauliers and pointing out the danger to Community plans to complete the internal market if other states take retaliatory action. On 4 June, Commissioner Van Miert advised that the Commission had sent a "reasoned opinion" to the Germans, requiring a response by 22 June. The United Kingdom strongly supports this action.