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German government wants ex-minister to foot USD267M bill for failed highway toll plan

BERLIN (AP) – The German government is considering whether it can make former transport minister Andreas Scheuer foot at least part of the quarter-billion euro compensation it has to pay a private company over a failed plan to introduce highway tolls.

Scheuer, who was in office from 2018 until 2021, had insisted on the total despite expert warnings that it would unfairly penalise drivers from other European Union (EU) countries.

An EU court ruled it illegal in 2019, prompting a lengthy arbitration procedure with the company hired to set up the toll system that ended in a EUR243-million (USD267-million) settlement last week.

Scheuer’s successor, Volker Wissing, told German weekly Bild am Sonntag that taxpayers shouldn’t have to bear all of the cost of “this serious political mistake”.

“We will look the legal situation very closely and carefully examine whether and to what amount compensation claims (against Scheuer) are possible,” he was quoted saying on Sunday.

Scheuer is a member of the conservative, Bavaria-only Christian Social Union that is part of the biggest opposition bloc in Germany’s federal Parliament.

Former German transportation minister Andreas Scheuer. PHOTO: AP
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