Transit dispute – Austria “arrogant” for Italian deputy Salvini

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Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (Lega) accused Austria on Wednesday of ‘arrogance’ regarding Tyrolean anti-transit measures. Speaking to parliament in Rome, the European Commission’s transport minister confirmed it was “shameful due to years of inaction”. However, Austrian Transport Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) wants to stay the course.

As for a hearing before the European Commission on the Italian lawsuit before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Monday, Salvini felt prepared. The decision to file a lawsuit was taken in view of European inaction and “Austria’s intransigent attitude,” according to the Italian Transport Minister. A negotiated solution was not reached.

In any case, lifting the ‘transit bans’ is an ‘absolute priority’ of his government, Salvini admitted in a question time before the Chamber of Deputies. Unilateral bans are “unacceptable and unsustainable because they block the main axis of communication between Northern and Southern Europe.” The measures on the Brenner axis would also result in “chaos, traffic, pollution, traffic jams and unfair competition”.

Hearing scheduled for Monday
A hearing before the European Commission is now scheduled for April 8. “We have prepared a comprehensive dossier that collects and analyzes all scientific, analytical and environmental data that prove the arrogance and injustice of the Austrian decision,” Salvini said.

The European Commission must comment by May 15. Then we will see “whether the European Commission finally does justice to Italian citizens and forwarders.” Italy can appeal to the Court of Justice or not, regardless of the European Commission’s opinion or decision, Salvini stressed.

Gewessler criticizes Rome
“Salvini stands for the profits of the freight lobby,” said Gewessler, criticizing her Italian counterpart. Austria will stay the course. The Tyroleans would suffer from “unbearable conditions”, the Minister of Transport and Climate Protection stressed, citing traffic jams, noise and bad air along the Brenner route. The measures are “legally compliant” and will be “defended accordingly” on Monday.

There is agreement on this with the black and red Tyrolean state government. “In the end, one thing also applies: anyone who takes Tyroleans seriously must look for a solution at the negotiating table,” Gewessler warned.

It is the Commission’s turn
In mid-February, Italy submitted a lawsuit that had already been decided at the Court of Justice to the European Commission, asking for EU infringement proceedings to be initiated. Salvini had previously mobilized for months against Tyrolean measures on the Brenner route, such as truck meter systems and weekend and night driving bans.

The European Commission now has three months to decide on an infringement procedure against Austria or to issue an opinion. In the event of infringement proceedings, Austria will be given the opportunity to comment. The states involved may provide written and oral comments in a hearing procedure. If the European Commission does not make a statement within three months or refrain from filing a lawsuit, Italy itself can take legal action directly before the Court of Justice.

Source: Krone

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