BERLIN (Reuters) – Contracts the German government signed with private companies to implement its road toll scheme – which a European court has since ruled illegal – were cancelled partly due to breaches by the companies, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said.
His comments cast doubt over whether and to what extent the German government will have to pay compensation to a consortium including German ticketing company CTS Eventim and Austria’s Kapsch Trafficcom after the EU’s highest court last week ruled that Berlin’s planned road toll scheme was illegal.
Scheuer said the EU court ruling was one reason for cancelling the contracts but there had also been failures on the part of the companies as they had not respected certain deadlines and ordered services from sub-contractors even after the ruling.
Government sources told Reuters Germany might have to pay the consortium a three-digit million euro sum if the contracts were cancelled solely due to the EU ruling.
Kapsch Trafficcom said in a statement that it was in negotiations with the German government and it still assumed it would have been able to fulfil its obligations regarding the toll within the deadlines.
A spokesman for CTS Eventim declined to comment on any speculation about why the contract had been cancelled.
The costs which arose from the collapsed toll plans led to public outcry in Germany, with politicians criticising Scheuer – a member of the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats – for signing contracts with vendors and employing staff in preparation for the toll while the EU lawsuit over its legal feasibility was still pending.
(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Thomas Escritt and Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Michelle Martin)