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Making life easier for citizens when moving with their cars to another EU Member State

A new legislative proposal to facilitate cross-border motor vehicle registration.

By Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and Industry policy

Each year, EU citizen and companies have to move some 3.5 million vehicles to another Member State, and need to get them register according to the national legislation. However, what should be a simple registration procedure in the 21st century Single Market remains a cumbersome and lengthy administrative procedure because of the diversity of rules and the various conflicting requirements.

Moreover, these problems also represent a significant barrier to the free movement of goods, services and workers, and therefore for growth and jobs creation in Europe. 20 years after the entry into force of the internal market it is unacceptable that there are still so many obstacles for citizens and business.

This is why I have proposed to dramatically reduce paper work and administrative procedures for the registration of vehicles in another Member State. Our proposal puts an end to many car registration formalities and lengthy procedures. This means substantial savings for rent-a-car companies. Economy as a whole will win, and in particular the tourism industry.

This initiative would lead to a very substantial administrative simplification with total savings of at least € 1.445 billion per year for businesses, citizens and registration authorities. For example, we will dramatically reduce the costs for de-registration and re-registration for citizens and for businesses which are estimated to be of € 400 per vehicle transfer today.

Car-rental companies will save substantially, as they will be able to transfer cars to another EU country during the holiday periods without re-registration. This is good news for tourists as it is expected that renting a car will become cheaper, once today's proposal will be approved.

Here is an overview of what we propose to make car registration in another Member State lighter:

  • Moving permanently to another country with car will be easier: Most of the paperwork and the physical controls will be abolished. Car registration offices will get the technical information directly from their counterparts in the other EU country. This will save a lot of time and reduce bureaucracy.
  • Six months for registering cars abroad: Citizens will have 6 months to re-register their car after their move to another Member State.
  • Easier to buy cars abroad: Citizens who buy or sell a second-hand car in another EU country will not have to face additional technical controls and administrative problems.
              - This proposal also introduces a temporary registration of 30 days 
    so that a second-hand car can be easily driven to its new owner.
              - Car dealers who like to sell cars in another Member State can use 
                a ‘professional registration’ for short drives across the border.
  • Car-rental companies will be able to transfer cars to another EU country during the holiday periods without re-registration (e.g. keeping the same cars at the sea side during summer and in the Alps during the winter). This should lower the price of car rentals.
  • Impossible to register a stolen car: Registration authorities will increasingly cooperate with each other, making it easier to track stolen cars. It will become impossible to register a stolen car in another EU country.
  • Not any wreck on 4 wheels can be registered:  When registration authorities have doubt about the roadworthiness of the vehicle, they are fully entitled to refuse the registration and to send the vehicle to a technical inspection station.

To summarize this proposal is important as a proof that the internal market sweeps away administrative formalities. Often the European Commission is criticised for creating bureaucracy, but once the above improvements will be implemented, it brings less burden, for citizens and for businesses.

We need such deregulation urgently as daily life becomes easier and economy will benefit from lighter rules and less costs. Therefore it is crucial that we continue to reduce obstacles in the internal market which still exist. We need this in particular in the current economic climate.

Last update: 18/07/2014 |  Top