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Brussels – The EU Commission has cleared the way for an Italian lawsuit against Austria over the Tyrolean anti-transit measures on the Brenner route before the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In a statement, the Brussels authority largely agrees with the criticism from Italy. Some of the Tyrolean measures would restrict the free movement of goods. However, the Commission refrained from initiating its own infringement proceedings.

Italy’s Minister of Transport, Matteo Salvini (Lega), then announced that his country would file the lawsuit provided for in Article 259 TFEU before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to “create a favorable legal framework for businesses again and protect the principle of freedom in the European Union.” Salvini, referring to the EU Commission’s statement, expressed “great satisfaction” and interpreted it as the Commission “unequivocally criticizing all Austrian driving bans on the Brenner corridor as a violation of the free movement of goods according to Articles 34 and 35 TFEU.” The statement was thus “proof of the correctness of the Italian government’s position.”

The Commission indeed had several points of criticism regarding the Austrian or Tyrolean measures. Specifically, they mentioned in a release “a night driving ban, a sectoral driving ban for certain rail-affine goods, a winter driving ban on Saturdays, and the rationing of entry of heavy goods vehicles onto the highway.”

Although the Brussels authority recognizes some of Austria’s arguments, the measures are not coherent and thus could not be “justified by achieving the desired goals (environmental protection, road safety, traffic flow, or security of supply).” (14.05.2024)