Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (Lega) accused Austria of “arrogance” regarding Tyrolean anti-transit measures on Wednesday. Speaking before parliament in Rome, the EU Commission’s Transport Minister confirmed that it had been “shameful for years of inaction”. Regarding a hearing before the EU Commission on Italy’s lawsuit before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Monday, Salvini felt prepared. Austria’s Transport Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) wants to stay the course.

The decision to sue was made “in view of the long-standing shameful inaction of the EU Commission and Austria’s intransigent stance,” said Italy’s transport minister. A negotiated solution was not reached. In any case, getting the “transit bans” lifted is an “absolute priority” of his government, Salvini admitted in a question time before the Chamber of Deputies. Unilateral bans are “unacceptable and untenable because they block the main connection axis between the north and south of Europe.” The measures on the Brenner axis would also result in “chaos, traffic, pollution, traffic jams and unfair competition”.

“Prove arrogance and injustice”

A hearing before the EU Commission is now planned for April 8th. “We have prepared an extensive dossier in which all scientific, analytical and environmental data are collected and analyzed that prove the arrogance and injustice of the Austrian decision,” said Salvini. The EU Commission should comment by May 15th. Then we will see “whether the European Commission finally does justice to Italian citizens and freight forwarders.” Italy can appeal to the Court of Justice or not, regardless of the EU Commission’s opinion or decision, emphasized Salvini.

Gewessler: “Measures are legally compliant”

“Salvini stands for the profits of the freight lobby,” said Gewessler, criticizing her Italian counterpart to the APA. Austria will stick to the course. The Tyroleans would suffer from “unbearable conditions,” the Transport and Climate Protection Minister pointed out, citing traffic jams, noise and bad air along the Brenner route. The measures are “legally compliant” and they 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 should look for a solution at the negotiating table,” warned Gewessler.

In mid-February, Italy submitted a lawsuit that had already been decided before the ECJ to the EU Commission, asking it to initiate EU infringement proceedings. Salvini had previously mobilized for months against the Tyrolean measures on the Brenner route, such as truck metering systems and weekend and night driving bans.

The EU Commission now has three months to decide on infringement proceedings against Austria or to issue an opinion. In the event of infringement proceedings, Austria will be given the opportunity to comment. The states involved can comment in writing and orally in an adversarial procedure. If the EU Commission does not issue a statement within three months or refrains from filing a lawsuit, Italy itself can sue directly before the ECJ.

more on the subject

EU election

Right-wing factions are mobilizing against the EU in Rome

EU elections

The fear of the big shock

The EU Parliament in Strasbourg

Transit route

Italy is suing the European Court of Justice over the Brenner dispute

European bottleneck: Brenner motorway