Italy Initiates EU Proceedings Against Austria

TransportRoad ♦ Published: January 25, 2023; 23:12 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Italian Minister of Transport Matteo Salvini has taken legal action against Austria. He has initiated an infringement procedure because of the transit driving bans in Tyrol.

Italy Has Initiated an Infringement Procedure Against Austria for the Tyrolean Transit Ban. / Picture: © Wikipedia / Ralf Pfeifer

Italian Transport Minister Matteo Salvini today formally called for infringement proceedings to be initiated against Austria over the Tyrolean transit driving bans. "I have written to the EU Commissioner for Transport, Adina Valean, to initiate infringement proceedings against Austria," said Salvini. Tyrol's governor Anton Mattle told that they were "not impressed by attempts at intimidation", and that they were "relaxed", according to ORF.

As Reported by VOL, It cannot be that Italian companies and freighters are harmed, Salvini explained: "This is unfair competition," said Salvini. "Austria prevents the free movement of people and goods. It is not possible for contracts to apply to some and not to others," Salvini said at a meeting of the Conftrasporto freighter association in Rome. "I've been Transport Minister for 96 days and I've shown patience so far. I have written letters, met ministers, I have met the EU Commissioner for Transport. If we cannot solve our goal with courtesy, technical discussions, and respect for international treaties, we will drive to Brenner together. It is not possible for Austria to take care of its affairs and for the Italian freighters to be hindered in their work," explained the transport minister. In the cabinet of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Salvini is also Deputy Prime Minister and head of the second-strongest governing party, the Lega.

According to ORF, Mattle, on the other hand, reacted by saying that Tyrol would stick to its claim, even if the "pressure from Rome, Berlin, but also Brussels" continued to increase. “We need sustainable relief for the population along the Brenner corridor. The Tyrolean emergency measures are not being taken for fun and frolic, but because of an emergency: namely, the enormous burden caused by the many trucks." In contrast to the Italian Minister of Transport, one would try "with constructive proposals, such as the slot study to solve the apparent transit problem". “Italy should therefore stand on its hind legs and, for example, remove hurdles in rail transport instead of lashing out with the mace. Salvini has already practiced politics with enemy images in the past, now as Minister of Transport he is trying to use Tyrol as an enemy image," the governor for his part rode a sharp attack.

The Italian freighters have been putting pressure on the government in Rome for years to end the "unilateral restrictions" in Tyrol. A meeting of the largest freighter associations is planned in Verona for next Saturday, January 28, at which heavy goods traffic on the Brenner axis will be the central topic. Conftrasporto boss Paolo Uggè called on the Meloni government to intervene decisively in Europe to demand compliance with the principle of free movement of people and goods in the Schengen area. "We are at Salvini's side in this fight. The carriers will meet in Verona. No one will be able to prevent us from taking initiative to defend the principle of free movement," stressed Uggé, as it is stated by VOL.

Also according to VOL, Freighters from Italy, transport almost 500 million tons of goods over the Alpine passes every year. A third of these goods pass through the Brenner Pass, stressed Conftrasporto. This axis is of vital importance for the Italian economy. "If guaranteed, the free movement of goods would add 390 billion euros to the European economy," said Uggé.