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Violations of EU law in ‘imports’, trade, registration and circulation of used goods vehicles from EU Member States

Question écrite de Mme Elena KOUNTOURA - Commission européenne

Question de Mme Elena KOUNTOURA,

Diffusée le 10 avril 2024

Subject: Violations of EU law in ‘imports’, trade, registration and circulation of used goods vehicles from EU Member States

The Greek government recently adopted and implemented legislation1 and administrative practices imposing additional and disproportionately burdensome conditions on traders of used goods vehicles2 imported from EU Member States. This legislation introduces discrimination within a segment of the EU market in the used goods vehicle trade sector, imposing less favourable measures for imports of the commercial goods in question into Greece and the registration of these goods. This results in the introduction of quantitative restrictions on imports of intra-Community traded goods and damage to intra-Community trade, it discourages trade in the goods in question and causes irreparable financial loss to traders in the sector, in violation of both EU law and CJEU case law3,4. These measures strengthen the market segment comprising new and non-imported used goods vehicles and provide for the recycling of the existing fleet rather than its renewal.

Bearing in mind that, under the Treaties, the Commission has the obligation to intervene immediately to remedy this distortion5, can it answer the following:

1. How does it view the discrimination against and the quantitative restrictions imposed on imports of used goods vehicles from EU Member States, the trade in these vehicles and their registration?

2. Is EU law on the free movement of goods being violated?

3. Does it intend to raise the issue with the Greek government and ask for the discriminatory legislation in question to be amended?

Submitted:11.4.2024

1 Legislation: Ministerial decision 12922/16-1-2024 of the Minister and Deputy Minister (GG II 311 17.1.2024),

Law 4784/2021 (GG I 40 16.3.2021) and Article 84 of Law 5039/2023. 2 Vehicle categories N1, N2, N3, O1, O2 and O3.

3 Specifically, the adoption and implementation of this legislation violates the provisions of Article 34 et seq.

TFEU. See CJEU judgments C-112/00 - Schmidberger, EU:C:2003:333, paragraph 56, C-110/05 - Commission v Italy (2009), ECLI:EU:C:2009:66, paragraph 56, C-297/05 - Commission v Netherlands (2007), ECLI:EU:C:2007:531, paragraph 63 and 4/75 and ECLI:EU:C:1975:98. 4 For a new public use vehicle licence to be issued, commercial vehicles must be fitted with a Euro 6d engine

and traders are given 20 days to upload a large number of supporting documents to a register of imported used cars for each vehicle they ‘import’.

5 Please note that traders have already submitted a complaint to the Commission (DG GROW- complaint ref.

No CPLT(2024)00002).

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 18 juin 2024

Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission

(19 June 2024)

The Commission is assessing the Greek legislation setting restrictions as from 1 January 2024 for registration and licensing of certain heavy-duty vehicles to be used for public transportation in Greece.

The above restrictions do not appear discriminatory as they apply to all used heavy-duty vehicles with emission standards EURO IV and V, regardless of the fact if the vehicles concerned are imported from another Member State.

Article 34 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) prohibits quantitative restrictions on imports of goods and measures having the equivalent effect of quantitative restrictions.

According to the Court of Justice of the EU, these are ‘all trading rules enacted by Member States which are capable of hindering, directly or indirectly, actually or potentially, intra-Community trade’ (6).

Measures can be justified on one of the grounds of public interest laid down in Article 36 TFEU, or on one of the overriding requirements in the public interest stemming from the Court’s jurisprudence which include the environmental protection and consumer's protection.

As exceptions to the fundamental principle of free movement of goods, such grounds are interpreted narrowly. National authorities, when they seek to invoke such grounds, bear the burden of proof to demonstrate the measures are necessary to protect the interest referred to and comply with the principle of proportionality.

The Commission will assess whether the above legislation amounts to a quantitative restriction on the imported goods and, where appropriate, will take action to address any potential breach of the EU law.

1 ∙ ⸱ Legislation: Ministerial Decision 12922/16-1-2024 of the Minister and Deputy Minister (GG II 311 17.1.2024), Law 4784/2021 (GG I 40 16.3.2021) and

Article 84 of Law 5039/2023. 2 ∙ ⸱

Vehicle categories N1, N2, N3, O1, O2 and O3. 3 ∙ ⸱

Specifically, the adoption and implementation of this legislation violates the provisions of Article 34 et seq. TFEU. See CJEU judgments C-112/00 — Schmidberger, EU:C:2003:333, paragraph 56, C-110/05 — Commission v Italy (2009), ECLI:EU:C:2009:66, paragraph 56, C-297/05 — Commission v Netherlands (2007), ECLI:EU:C:2007:531, paragraph 63 and 4/75 and ECLI:EU:C:1975:98. 4 ∙ ⸱ For a new public use vehicle licence to be issued, commercial vehicles must be fitted with a Euro 6d engine and traders are given 20 days to upload a large number of supporting documents to a register of imported used cars for each vehicle they ‘import’. 5 ∙ ⸱ Please note that traders have already submitted a complaint to the Commission (DG GROW- complaint ref. No CPLT(2024)00002). 6 ∙ ⸱ Judgment of 11 July 1974, Procureur du Roi v Benoît and Gustave Dassonville, C-8/74, ECLI:EU:C:1974:82, paragraph 5.











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