Italy against Austria for Brenner traffic bans

Reference legislation

Italian protests against Austria over traffic limitations for the circulation of heavy vehicles over the Brenner pass with the aim of contributing to climate protection are increasing.

These are traffic bans that penalize Italy, which has formally requested the European Commission to open infringement proceedings against Austria, invoking Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 

 The complaint concerns in particular Austria’s imposition of bans and restrictions on the circulation of industrial vehicles along the Brenner axis, against the European principles of free movement of goods within the European Union to ensure fair and equal conditions for businesses, which cause significant economic damages for Italian companies. The Brenner Pass is a key transit route between Italy and Austria - Italy exports over 60% of its production along the Alpine pass routes -, facilitating the movement of goods and people between northern and southern Europe. 

This protest is part of a general context of difficulties for transport of road goods across the Alpine passes: the Frejus rail tunnel is closed, the Mont Blanc tunnel is closed periodically due to maintenance work, and the Gotthard tunnel is closed until September 2024. The difficulty to access these important transport routes represents a major challenge for national exports. For now, the next step lies with the European Commission, which must decide whether to initiate the infringement proceedings to resolve the problem of the bans over the Brenner pass.