EETS in a nutshell

EETS stands for European Electronic Toll Service. It can be summarised as "one vehicle, one contract, one on-board unit".

EETS enable road users to pay tolls throughout the EU with one subscription contract with one service provider and one on-board unit. EETS is to be available on all infrastructure with electronic tolls, such as motorways, tunnels, bridges, etc. It is aimed at ensuring the interoperability of electronic road toll systems on the entire EU road network, limit cash transactions at toll stations and eliminate cumbersome procedures. It is expected to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion, and thus help fighting against climate change.

Under this scheme, the three partners are the Road Users, the Toll Chargers and the EETS Providers:

The EETS Provider concludes contracts with users and grants them access to the EETS in the entire EU. The Toll Charger levies tolls for the circulation of vehicles in an EETS domain — i.e. a part of the EU road network or a structure such as a tunnel, bridge or a ferry subject to toll. Tolling policies remain to be decided by the Member States in compliance with EU legislation.

EU legislative framework

Directive 2004/52/EC and Commission Decision 2009/750/EC have failed to deliver a secure the implementation of a genuine EETS market:

The current EU EETS legislative framework consists of two pieces of legislation:

  • Directive 2004/52/EC on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems, which prescribes the setting up of a EETS enabling road users to subscribe to a single contract and to use a single on-board unit (OBU) to pay electronic tolls across the EU; and
  • Commission Decision 2009/750/EC which defines the EETS and sets out technical specifications and requirements as well as contractual rules relating to EETS provision. It also outlines the various actors involved and their rights and obligations.

Despite the setting-up of this framework, the market is still fragmented. There are still over 100 electronic toll collection systems across the EU and Norway, and interoperability between toll domains is unsatisfactory. Only a small number of electronic toll collection schemes provide cross-border interoperability.

That failure can be explained by two main reasons:

  • In some countries, EETS Providers are confronted with considerable barriers to market entry. These include discriminatory treatment by authorities, long and varying acceptance procedures and local system specificities that do not comply with existing standards. A lack of clarity when it comes to Toll Chargers' and Member States' obligations under the current legislation can also be an explanatory factor.
  • Excessive requirements imposed on EETS Providers.

Lastly, under the existing framework, it is difficult to enforce the payment of tolls by vehicle owners registered in another Member State as there is no legal basis at EU level for the exchange of vehicle registration data between Member States.

The new EETS Directive must be transposed by the EU Member States by 19 October 2021:

To correct the flaws and shortcomings of the initial EU EETS legislative framework, the EU institutions adopted on 19 March 2019 the Directive (EU) 2019/520 "on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union".

This new EETS Directive has primarily amended the provisions with respect to:

  • the rights and obligations of EETS Providers, e.g. by specifying the rules regarding the remuneration to which EETS providers are entitled and by easing the rules regarding access to EETS domains;
  • the obligations of toll chargers.

In addition, the Directive has introduced a system for exchanging information between Member States to allow for identification of the person and the vehicle subject to the charge in case of failure to pay the toll.

Regarding the rights and obligations of EETS Providers:

With the new Directive, EETS Providers will be obliged to conclude contracts covering all EETS domains in a given Member State within 24 months following the conclusion of the first contract in that Member State, and to conclude contracts covering all EETS domains on the territories of at least four Member States within 36 months of their registration. Furthermore, EETS providers will have to make information publicly available about the EETS domains they service and their contracting policy towards EETS users.

Directive 2004/52/EC and EC Decision 2009/750/EC only implicitly referred to the remuneration to which EETS providers are entitled. The new Directive has corrected that shortcoming and explicitly specified the right of an EETS Provider to be remunerated by the Toll Charger (Article 7).

Directive (EU) 2019/520 "on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union" entered into force on 18 April 2019. It must be transposed by the EU Member States by 19 October 2021 at the latest and repeals the current EETS Directive (2004/52/EC) with effect from that date. It is supplemented by an Implementing Regulation and a Delegated Regulation.

Registered EETS Providers

Registered since

EETS Provider

Member State

21.12.2015   

Axxès   

France

25.02.2016   

TotalEnergies 

France

23.03.2016   

Telepass

Italy

10.06.2016   

eurotoll    

France

15.09.2016   

BroBizz  

Denmark

30.01.2017   

EuroWAG 

Czech Republic

22.02.2017   

Toll4Europe 

Germany

16.02.2018   

tolltickets 

Germany

02.01.2019

MSTS Europe

The Netherlands

17.07.2020

Alfaevolution

Italy

10.05.2021

Pagatelia

Spain

26.05.2021

DKV

Germany

Added-value for Toll Chargers and Road Users

 

Toll Chargers:

Toll Chargers have no direct contact with EETS users anymore, except for enforcement where necessary. They therefore no longer have to perform detailed user management (e.g. invoices) and can thus concentrate on road and traffic management.

Road Users:

A single contract with a single EETS Provider reduces users' administrative burden. Drivers are not distracted by multiple boxes (sometimes requiring a specific action on their part for each unit) on their dashboard anymore and do no longer have to queue at toll booths. As a result, they experience, to the benefit of the environment, more fluid and safer traffic and ultimately quicker journeys. Transport company owners are spared the challenge, related to logistics and accounting, involving multiple service providers.

Implementation in EU Member States