Vehicle re-registration will 'open up' single market

Streamlining car re-registration rules could result in a €1.5bn saving and an increase in road safety, argues Catherine Stihler.

By Catherine Stihler

07 Jul 2014

Re-registering a car in another EU country is one of the 20 key single market concerns cited by citizens. The European commission estimates that simplifying the process could save business and citizens almost €1.5bn a year and potentially make life easier for up to three million EU residents re-registering their cars each year. The purpose of this report was to reduce red tape by making it easier, quicker and cheaper for people and companies to re-register their vehicles when moving across EU borders. The changes in this report would have had the potential to make it simpler for citizens and increase the safety of our roads. I believe these are positive measures which we should be focusing on and fighting for. Our focus should be on preventing tax avoidance by cracking down on European vehicles that have been in our member states for a few months and have not yet been re-registered.

"Our focus should be on preventing tax avoidance by cracking down on European vehicles that have been in our member states for a few months and have not yet been re-registered"

It is due to the aforementioned reasons that I lobbied and negotiated forcefully on behalf of the S&D group as their shadow rapporteur and I am happy to confirm that several of our group's key non-negotiable points have been included in the report's final text. The main points are: facilitating online re-registration applications, introducing a three month re-registration period, and ensuring that an EU citizen must have car insurance when they are applying for re-registration. I welcome the overall objectives of this proposal as I believe it seeks to further open up the single market. The general benefits of the proposal are not perhaps as potentially large for the UK, as a left-hand driving member state, but they most definitely would be for similarly sized EU nations.

Unfortunately, the report has gone back to committee as the council of ministers was not yet ready to close the deal due to concerns raised over the potential loss of vehicle excise duty. The council has requested an impact assessment from the European commission and we should have the data presented by early autumn. It has been frustrating that we have not been able to achieve a first reading agreement and I urge the council to move quickly on this. I am hopeful that we will soon find a compromise position that will suit the member states and I look forward to contributing to further negotiations once the new European parliament legislature begins. The parliament is working to improve the lives of our citizens on the issues which matter to them and EU member states should do likewise.

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