Reviving the Franco-American Alliance Against Britain
OK, it’s not quite 1780 all over again, but the NYT reports that the U.S. and France have joined forces to protest the application of London’s “congestion” pricing scheme to employees of their respective embassies.
The U.S-French position (which is joined by a number of other countries) is buttressed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. I believe the relevant provision is Art. 34, which provides that “[a] diplomatic agent shall be exempt from all dues and taxes, personal or real, national, regional or municipal. . . ”
London is apparently arguing that the congestion charge is a “[c]harge levied for specific services rendered” and therefore an exception to the general rule of immunity. That doesn’t seem all that persuasive to me, but London has lots of incentives to collect. Just over the past four years, the U.S. alone has accrued nearly $2 million in unpaid congestion charges. So expect this to drag on.