Two MEPs propose locals be exempt from Karavanke Tunnel toll payment

Ljubljana, 12 June - Two MEPs from Slovenia and Austria who belong to the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) urged Slovenian and Austrian authorities to abolish the toll for the Karavanke Tunnel or at least introduce an annual lump sum for locals, arguing the tunnel is vital for them for work, education and cross-border cooperation in many fields.

The Karavanke tunnel currently closed in both directions due to technical problems.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

Slovenian MEP Matjaž Nemec and his Austrian counterpart Andreas Schieder have thus supported the efforts the locals from the municipalities of Jesenice in Slovenia and Sankt Jakob im Rosental in Austria launched last year.

Last autumn, the mayors of the two municipalities proposed that the locals on both sides of the border pay an annual lump sum for using the tunnel.

It now costs 7.80 euro to drive through the tunnel once, while a 35.10-euro card pegged to the car's licence plate is also available for 14 tunnel crossings within 30 days.

However, Nemec and Schieder believe this is still too much for those who use the tunnel for work or education daily, Nemec's office said on Monday.

The MEPs said the expensive crossing of the tunnel severely hampers local people's full enjoyment of the EU's fundamental principles - the free movement of goods, services and people, as well as cultural, economic and social integration in the cross-border area.

They thus urged the authorities to give a free pass or at least the option of an annual lump sum payment to the residents of Jesenice and Sankt Jakob im Rosental as well as to the Slovenian and Austrian citizens who regularly use the tunnel for work or education.

The appeal was addressed to Slovenian Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek, Leonore Gewessler, the Austrian minister in charge of transport, to the directors of the Slovenian and Austrian motorway companies, and the Slovenian-Austrian commission for the Karavanke/Karawanken road tunnel.

© STA, 2023