Calls for resignation of German Transport Minister following botched plan to introduce road-toll for foreign-registered cars

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German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer is facing renewed calls to resign after two companies said they were suing the government for €560 million ($620 million) over his failed plans to introduce a road toll in Germany that would disproportionately impact foreign-registered cars, DW reports.

“It is no longer justifiable why Andreas Scheuer continues to be transport minister,” the Green party’s parliamentary leader Anton Hofreiter told the Rheinische Post newspaper. “The fact that the chancellor hasn’t long since sacked a minister with such an abysmal record shows the weakness of the coalition.”

Scheuer’s protracted attempt to introduce a road toll came to an ignominious halt in June, when the European Court of Justice ruled that his plans contravened EU anti-discrimination law, because they included a tax cut for cars registered in Germany.

Following the ruling, Scheuer canceled contracts he had made with the companies Kapsch and CTS Eventim in 2018, leaving the government open to massive compensation claims.

In a statement to the stock market, the companies argued that they are entitled to 12 years’ worth of lost profits for the toll operator Autoticket, a firm they founded together to take over the contract, as well as costs they had incurred so far and compensation claims from subcontractors they themselves had hired.

In July, Scheuer admitted to a parliamentary committee that the contracts with Kapsch and CTS Eventim had been canceled because of the ECJ ruling, though in a video statement released on Thursday he argued that the companies had not “met their contractual commitments.”

“We reject with all firmness the operators’ demands,” Scheuer said. “The numbers are wrong and have no basis whatsoever.”

The dispute could be tied up in courts for years. But damning for the minister was a document quoted in Die Welt newspaper on Friday, which showed that the ministry’s own lawyers had warned Scheuer in January that the operators could sue the government for lost profits for the full 12 years of their contracts.

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