Major progress on cross-border mobility in the Upper Rhine region as German border cities recognise French air pollution vignettes

As of 1 June, vehicles with the French environmental vignette “Crit'Air” are allowed to enter the environmental zones of the cities of Freiburg and Karlsruhe as well as its neighbouring municipality of Pfinztal. Supported by the Regierungspräsidien (offices for the administrative district) of Freiburg and Karlsruhe, the three local administrations are now recognising French vignettes as equivalent to the German environmental badge, provided they indicate an equal or lower amount of emissions.

Up until now, German and French environmental zones could only be entered by vehicles with the environmental badge of the respective country, causing additional costs for citizens who wanted to cross the border for work, education or private reasons. While the new decision facilitates cross-border mobility for individuals residing in France, people living on the German side of the border will still have to equip themselves with the French vignette in order to enter the Eurométropole of Strasbourg at times of high air pollution.

This issue, stemming from the non-congruent transposition of the EU Clean Air Directives in France and Germany, was already analysed in the framework of the b-solutions initiative of the European Commission. Besides the reciprocal recognition of environmental badges on a regional level, now already introduced by one side, the corresponding analysis also outlined the possibility of a more far-reaching European solution, which would depend on political and administrative will of the Member States.

Nevertheless, the present case shows an increasing awareness of the cross-border challenges in the Upper Rhine region and thus offers a positive outlook for further progress on this matter.


More information:

b-solutions case “European solution for a vignette for air pollution control”

In the annex of the 2020 b-solutions compendium (pp. 77-79)

Final report

Press release of the Regierungspräsidium Karlsruhe

In German

In French

green deal b-solutions Cross-Border Cooperation Franco-German cross-border cooperation cross-border mobility Upper Rhine