Question to the Commission for written answer P-007565/2015
Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)
Subject: Cross-border traffic offences
I have recently been contacted by a constituent who, whilst driving in Germany, allegedly drove in excess of the speed limit and received a ticket through the post in England. My constituent wishes to contest this, but is unable to ascertain the legal situation in Germany or the potential consequences if convicted by a German court.
In light of the recent European Parliament vote in February 2015, such cases are likely to become more frequent. What safeguards are available to prevent those with a valid legal defence from being convicted because they cannot travel abroad to court and lack the appropriate local legal representation?
Answer given on behalf of the Commission by Ms Jourová (14.7.2015)
It is of utmost importance that Member States ensure a high level of road safety for their citizens, and recovering financial penalties for offences committed plays a role in this. Directive 2015/413 on facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences1 and the Framework Decision 2005/214/JHA on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to financial penalties2 are designed to enable Member States to share information with each other to identify possible offenders and recover financial penalties in a cross-border context.
At the same time, the Charter of Fundamental Rights provides guarantees to every citizen to her/his rights to an effective remedy and to a fair trial. The above mentioned Framework decision also contains certain safeguards when applied, for example the execution of a decision on a financial penalty might be refused if the person concerned by that penalty did not have an opportunity to have his/her case tried by a court having jurisdiction in particular in criminal matters or did not appear personally or enjoys immunity under the law of the executing state.
Detailed information about the different Member States’ court systems and available rights in judicial proceedings can be found at the European e-Justice portal3.
1 Directive 2015/413 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 on facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences (OJ L 68, of 1.03.2015 p.9)