Commission to simplify cross-border vehicle registration
By Ophélie Spanneut | Wednesday 04 April 2012
The European Commission has proposed a new directive aimed at simplifying the registration of cars between member states by reducing administrative burdens for businesses and citizens.
The proposed directive
(1) provides for motor vehicles to be registered in the member state where their owners “normally reside”. Citizens who move to another country within the EU would have six months to re-register their vehicle. However, students, people who move to another member state to work for a pre-defined period of time and citizens who spend part of the year in a holiday residence abroad would be exempted from this obligation.
Under the proposed directive, registration authorities will be responsible for collecting the necessary technical information directly from the member state of origin, whereas under the current procedure it is up to citizens to do this. Such administrative cooperation between member state authorities will also make it impossible to register a stolen car. Preliminary physical checks could only be carried out in certain cases.
The situation will also be simplified for businesses. During holiday periods, car rental companies will be able to transfer extra vehicles to another member state without having to re-register them in order to meet seasonal demand. Vehicles will only have to be registered in the member state where the company has its headquarters.
The registration of cars was identified in the 2010 report on EU citizenship: ‘Dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens’ rights’
(2) as one of the main obstacles to the mobility of Europeans. The length of registration procedures (on average five weeks) and extra costs (estimated at €400) linked to moving a car from one member state to the other constituted obstacles to growth for 64.4% of businesses consulted by the Commission.
NO SINGLE REGISTRATION SYSTEM
However, the option of a single registration system, which would be valid for the entire life cycle of a car, was not considered during the impact study. While it would be advantageous for both citizens and businesses, the Commission concluded that it would have a negative impact on road security, criminality, insurance and on the perception of traffic and registration taxes. Since taxation requires unanimity within the Council, it precludes a European system for car registration. Industry and Entrepreneurship Commissioner Antonio Tajani said that he regrets not being able to propose a European registration system, explaining that he is “obliged to propose something acceptable for the Council”. The Commission has said that it intends to take action over the next year to clarify measures that member states should respect regarding the application of taxes. n
(1) COM(2012)164(2) COM(2010)603