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Law Firm Sues Austrian Town for 27 Cents After It Closed Border Crossing to Hungary

Firm has filed a complaint to the European Commission.

A law firm has sued the Austrian town of Schattendorf for 27 cents in damage because it closed a border crossing between Austria and Hungary.

In July, employees of the law firm wanted to cross through the Austrian town to an appointment in the Hungarian town of Agfalva, which they say is the fastest route. The employees, instead, had to take a detour of 3.4 kilometers, costing them 27 cents more in fuel. Schattendorf should now refund this, the law firm argued in court on Wednesday.

“We are not doing this out of spite,” Mate Ruzicska, a lawyer at the firm NZP Nagy Legal, said according to Austrian news. The border closure is a breach of the EU’s Schengen law, which requires participating countries to remove all obstacles to smooth traffic flow at internal borders, the law firm argued.

The town — a popular transit route for commuters between Austria and Hungary — wanted to reduce traffic by turning the border into a pedestrian crossing from December onward. Construction on the pedestrian crossing began in March, leading to the closure of the border. Only residents of the two neighboring towns would be able to apply for an exemption allowing them to drive across at walking pace, Austrian news reported.

Schattendorf rejected a settlement, denying allegations from the law firm, and said the border crossing regulation was in line with the law, Austrian news reported. The court’s ruling will be issued in writing.

The law firm said it wants to continue to fight against the restrictions at the border crossing.

The firm has submitted a request for judicial review to the constitutional court and filed a complaint to the European Commission. NZP Nagy Legal also wants to appeal to the European Anti-Fraud Office, because the town allegedly used EU funds meant to renovate the border crossing, only to then close it, according to Austrian news.

Source: Politico