This has recently been published in the Algarve News

"The European Commission has responded to a formal complaint made by the city council of Aveiro and has called on the Portuguese government to change the laws on charging tolls on the formerly free SCUT roads, including the Via do Infante in the Algarve (A22).

The judgement of the European Commission (EC) is in response to a formal complaint by the municipality of Aveiro, which argued that the introduction of tolls on the formerly free SCUT road system "violated the principle of freedom of movement and the principle of non discrimination on grounds of nationality."

A request for clarification was sent to the Portuguese government by the EC, but a 'totally inadequate' reply by the Portuguese authorities failed to provide a reasoned opinion leading to the EC formally to request "more explanation and documentation to justify the legislation passed, its meaning and scope, and why it should be an exception to EU law."

The Portuguese government then was warned that "if the rules were not changed, as they are contrary to the Community legislative framework, the government would be sued and prosecuted in the EU Court of Justice for breach and violation of mandatory rules of Community law."

The Municipality of Aveiro, in a statement, said it hoped that the national authorities would comply with the decision of the European Commissioners and urgently review the national legislation that has enabled the introduction of tolls in the first place.

The committee set up to fight for the abolition of tolls on the A23, A24 and A25 motorways welcomed the news but stressed that "the essential question has not been taken into account by Brussels." Francisco Almeida, spokesman for the commission, said that the essential question is one of the profound impact of tolls on the economy of the regions affected. The complaint by Aveiro focused primarily on freedom of movement, and non-discrimination by virtue of nationality."

The municipality of Aveiro wrote in its complaint to the EC that "the introduction of tolls had violated the principle of freedom of movement and the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of nationality; both are cornerstones of the laws that governs us."

For Almeida, "all actions that contribute to fighting the crime that the introduction of tolls represents are welcome," repeating the call for local authorities, business associations and citizens to engage in this fight which will be won "through the courts, either with recourse to the European Union or with the protests made. "

None of the Algarve’s municipalities used this EC complaint mechanism, nor have any other entities such as business associations or unions, despite strong local opposition to the tolls and the significant decline in traffic on the Via do Infante, that once was considered essential for the structural development of the Algarve.

The Algarve's 'Committee of Users of the Via do Infante' will go ahead on March 8th with its protest and slow drive from Boliqueime along the EN125 to Faro."