Monday, March 12, 2007

This will hack off the Huns

The EU's environment commissioner, reports Reuters, has called for a maximum speed limit on German highways to slow down the notoriously swift traffic on the car-loving nation's autobahns.

The information comes from the Bild am Sonntag newspaper which has Stavros Dimas saying, "There are so many areas in which we senselessly waste energy and harm the climate … One simple measure in Germany could be a uniform speed limit on the autobahns."

He adds that, "Speed limits are very sensible for many reasons and completely normal in most EU countries and the United States. Only in Germany is it, oddly enough, a source of controversy."

So far, German transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee has rejected the idea of a top limit. At least one-third of Germany's highways already have a speed limit while the rest carry a recommended speed of 130 kph (82 mph). In reality, drivers and motorcyclists can, and often do, travel as fast as they like.

Furthermore, high performance car makers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, as well as mass market producers Volkswagen and General Motors' Opel division, Germany has resisted speed limits, not least because they argue that the demands imposed on their cars have led to them producing vehicles that are amongst the best and safest in the world.

However, the EU commission might push its luck and exercise its powers conferred under the Maastricht Treaty, and propose a law imposing a speed limit.

This really would annoy many Germans, and bring home to them the nature of the European Union. Only good could come of it.

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