Courtesy of The Albion Alliance Present comes notice of a speech given by Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, on the subject of "Deploying the eCall life-saving emergency call system" at the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism in Brussels. A little background on the dCall system can be found here and here we are informed that: "As eCall normally 'sleeps', it does not allow vehicle tracking outside emergencies".(Do note the word 'normally')
In her speech, Neelie Kores states:
"In addition, I should underine that some of functionalities used by the eCall system, such as positioning and communication, could be part of a common platform and shared by other connected services to be deployed for the benefit of European industry and citizens. eCall could therefore also play the role of a catalyst for the deployment of other types of service, such as navigation, roadside assistance or hands-free calling." (Emphasis mine)
The reason for my emphasising those words in the extract above are due to the Eurovignette Directive amending Directive 1999/62 on charging of heavy goods vehicle. Neither the existing Directive nor the proposed amendment presently require the use of tolls or user charges but where Member States choose to apply them they must respect the rules.
That road charging is on the agenda of the EU is beyond doubt as it is one that fits the policy of user/polluter pays and, in their own words, provides a useful instrument to generate new sources of revenue to help develop what is considered a vital infrastructure, whislt satisfying the EU's mad climate and energy agendas.
Returning to Neelie Kroes' speech, it will not have escaped reader's attention the EU decided that introduction of eCall is mandatory; that whilst eCall normally 'sleeps', it could just as easily be 'awake' 24/7; that if there is one system already in being to pinpoint a vehicle for one eventuality, then it is a simple matter for that same system to pinpoint a vehicle continuously 24/7; that if charging of heavy goods vehicles is already in the pipeline then it must follow so are charges for all vehicles. Obviously any form of road charging will be so much easier once Galileo is operable (Galileo being a project that has been falling further and further behind schedule); meanwhile all the groundwork is being prepared...........
Unfortunately the phrase 'forewarned is forearmed' is not much help here on the basis that there is not much we can do in preparation to overcome it - unless of course we tell the EU to get lost.........?