Mutual recognition of fines

People can freely move around in the EU. Occasionally, they commit an offence while abroad and are liable to pay a fine. However, often those fines incurred abroad remain unpaid. The EU has to ensure that all Europeans are treated equally, wherever they live or travel to.

Non-residents should not be in a more favourable position than residents simply because they can escape paying a fine by going back to their home country.

The EU works to ensure all financial penalties are collected. A Council framework decision lays down the rules for mutual recognition of financial penalties.

How does it work?

A judicial or administrative authority can transmit a financial penalty directly to an authority in another EU country and to have that penalty recognised and executed without any further formality.

The procedure applies in situations where a fine is imposed on a person who is not a resident of the EU country where the offence was committed, fails to pay the fine and then leaves the territory of that country.