Vying for public attention as much as the major international crises in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, the issue of Germany’s plan to introduce a motorway toll for the foreign motorists has the country’s politicians at odds.
The Christian Democrats (CDU), the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have clashed unexpectedly with their alliance partners – Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU). The first oppose the toll idea because it would deter foreign motorists from traveling through Germany – considering the drivers use their money on gas and other logistics (which all have taxes that go into Germany’s finances). The latter claim it’s unfair the German motorists have to pay road taxes in neighboring countries, such as Austria, Switzerland and France.
“That just shows how completely clueless they are,” said CSU deputy leader Andreas Scheuer in Monday’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily. “The toll is going to be introduced on all roads in Germany,” he added.
The split in Germany’s conservative wing comes just as three German regions have scheduled elections this week. The issue is especially sensitive in places like Bavaria, a region that acts as a crossroad for motorists that go from northern Europe to the Balkans, south and southeast Europe (and vice versa). According to most polls, the Germans are in favor of introducing the toll – if it only targets foreign motorists.