The European Commission opened its first post-Brexit disciplinary notice against the UK, which is legally binding under the Brexit transition period. Eurocrats accused the Government of discriminating against European truckers by charging a special tax against them as they enter Britain. European hauliers have to pay the HGV levy, up to £1,000 a year, before entering the country, but the Commission argues this is unfair because UK-registered firms receive the cash back through discounts on their annual road tax.
Brussels has warned Boris Johnson he has two months to explain how he will fix the problem or face being hauled in front of EU judges in Luxembourg.
The ECJ can impose hefty fines if a country refuses or fails to comply with its judgement.
The move will only further heighten fears about the UK’s status as a “vassal state” while in the transition period.
Under the UK’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, the bloc’s officials can continue to slap the UK with infringement notices until up to 2025.
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The Commission has given Boris Johnson two months to respond to accusations
The Brussels-based executive said in a statement: “The Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.
“As set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, EU law continues to apply in full to the UK for the duration of the transition period. In particular, the UK remains subject to the EU’s enforcement mechanisms, such as infringement procedures.”
The Prime Minister was called upon to use Brexit to slap bigger taxes on European lorries in the wake of the Commission’s complaint.
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Senior Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “This has been legislation in the UK for years, why haven’t the EU brought it up before?
“They should have raised concerns when we passed the legislation years and years ago.
“In no way does £1,000 a year compensate for the commercial advantage enjoyed by foreign operators
“Foreign hauliers do not pay road tax or buy fuel in the country, so are making no contribution to the UK but taking our business.”