Brussels corrects Government, clarifies that Spain’s recovery plan includes introduction of road tolls in 2024


The issue of tolls is causing a stir in Brussels and the truth is that the European Commission insists on correcting the government: the measure to introduce toll elements on motorways in 2024 is in the Spanish recovery plan, and will be maintained unless the document is changed. For the time being, the EU executive takes this into account as one of the objectives of the Spanish plan, despite Moncloa’s insistence on denying it, especially in recent days.

The European Commission has assured that the Spanish plan “refers to a mechanism of payment for the use of roads that will begin in 2024 in line with the principle of ‘the polluter pays’,” confirmed the Commission’s economic spokesperson, Veerle Nuyts, at a press conference. Moreover, Brussels has not yet spoken of alternatives to this measure, which is associated with the fifth payment of funds – Spain has not yet requested the fourth – amounting to a total of 8,000 million euros. In this sense, they repeat, “the issue will be analysed when Spain requests” this tranche of aid.

These words clash directly with what Moncloa has been saying in recent days. In fact, Pedro Sánchez himself yesterday denied the measure, and assured that it is “a hoax” that, in his opinion, is being repeated by both the PP and Vox. The President of the Government had already denied the issue in the face-to-face meeting with Alberto Núñez Feijóo.

There are 36 toll motorways in Spain, covering more than 2,600 kilometres, and the idea is to extend this payment to dual carriageways as well. The measure is part of the chapter on infrastructures, also with a reading of the fight against climate change. However, the versions from Brussels and Madrid differ, and days ago the Minister for Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, considered the controversy surrounding the possible payment of a toll for the use of dual carriageways in Spain to be “settled” and “categorically” denied that it would be paid, accusing, like the president, the opposition parties of giving fuel to the issue.

“What I can tell you is that next year, as imposed by Brussels, we will have to impose tolls, Brussels is demanding it of us”, the director of the DGT (the Traffic Department), Pere Navarro, had said just before, pointing directly to the agreement with the European Commission.

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