Vehicle safety checks: soon you'll be able to have your car checked where you live, not where it's registered

12 January 2009

Vehicle safety checks: soon you'll be able to have your car checked where you live, not where it's registered

The SP has long argued for an EU-wide availability of the vehicle safety test which is already required in every member state. Foreigners living temporarily in another member state should be able to have their vehicles checked in their country of residence. Last September, SP Euro-MP and transport specialist Erik Meijer received confirmation from the European Commission that any citizen of an EU member state who finds him- or herself in another EU country when the date arrives on which their vehicle must undergo such a test should be able to arrange to have it done in situ. A Dutch motorist, for example, living temporarily in Greece should not be obliged to take her car back to the Netherlands for its safety check. According to media reports, Dutch Minister of Transport Camiel Eurlings now agrees.

Erik MeijerRecognition

Meijer was informed by the European Commission that "from the general point of view of freedom of movement of EU citizens, it is desirable to ensure mutual recognition of technical controls." If you want to convince Brussels of anything, you have to come up with an economic argument. Best of all is if you can call on the free movement of persons, goods, services or capital, in which case you are likely to hear that "a review by the Commission is needed". What this means in this case is that the Commission is bowing before pressure from motorists.


The EU Transport Commissioner "will ask the competent services to look into possible mutual recognition of tests in the context of this revision," according to the Commission's answer to Erik Meijer's questions. Whether this has already been set in motion is not stated. Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani makes no reference to the test system already instigated by the Dutch road transport authority. In the Netherlands, if you want to make a good impression on policymakers, it's no good referring to the freedom of movement. Much better to talk about the "lightening of the administrative burden" for members of the public. Having to return to the Netherlands when you're working abroad, simply to have your vehicle tested, costs money, creates wear-and-tear on nerves, and is damaging to the environment.

"The general periodic vehicle test, known in most of Europe as the 'technical control' and in the UK as the 'MoT test', is required by EU law, but there is no provision for such tests to be carried out at EU level or in a member state other than one's own," says Erik Meijer. "This is all wrong, and I hope that an end will soon be put to it."

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