Bavaria's state premier says he wants to charge non-Germans to use autobahns. Although he insists he is serious and will challenge European laws to implement the idea, others say it is just electioneering.
Horst Seehofer, head of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) – the Bavarian arm of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc – is heading for almost certain victory in the state election on September 15. Part of his manifesto is to introduce a fee for non-German cars using autobahns.
He told the Bild daily newspaper that as Bavaria was a state that bordered lots of other countries where paying a fee for using the motorway was normal, it was only fair to charge foreigners for its autobahns.
“I, as head of the CSU, will not sign a coalition agreement in which there is no mention of introducing a car fee,” he said. The CSU is currently in a coalition with the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in Bavaria, but has often ruled alone.
The autobahn fee idea has caused friction among politicians, and even Seehofer admitted that such a fee would probably not be possible under European Union regulations.
“It is Bavarian election fight hullabaloo,” said Patrick Döring general secretary of the national FDP on Monady.
CDU transport politician Gero Storjohnn added that the plan “was not being taken as a serious suggestion.”