Slovenia Looks to Ease Motorway Row with EU

Slovenia announced Thursday that it will introduce one-week motorway stickers, following criticism from Brussels that the longer-term passes discriminated against foreign visitors.

“The government will propose amending the current law on roads in order to introduce seven-day vignettes at a price of €15,” Transport Minister Patrick Vlacic told journalists.

The government will also abolish the six-month stickers and raise the price of the 12-month vignettes to €95, from €55 currently, he said.

“This way, the government has taken a rational decision,” Vlacic said, adding that the move should allow the Commission to unblock part of the cohesion funds earmarked for motorway construction in Slovenia.

Motorway stickers for cars and motorbikes were introduced in July 2008 by the previous centre-right government, which was hoping to boost highway use and simplify travelling in the Alpine state, which borders Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy.

But the European Commission criticised the move in October, arguing that it discriminated against foreign visitors, who had to pay for a six-month pass even if they used the Slovenian motorway network for a short period of time.

The commission then requested that Slovenia allow foreigners transiting through the country to buy tax discs covering a shorter period.

Motorway tax stickers were also criticised by automobile associations and tourist organisations in Germany and Austria, whose nationals often drive through Slovenia.

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