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Brussels, 15th May 2003

Motor insurance: Commission refers the Netherlands to the European Court of Justice

The European Commission has decided to refer the Netherlands to the European Court of Justice for failing to implement the Fourth Motor Insurance Directive (2000/26/EC) by the agreed date of 20 July 2002. Until the Directive is properly applied throughout the EU, drivers from one Member State involved in an accident with a car registered and insured in another Member State will still face serious difficulties in claiming compensation quickly. The Commission's decision follows its decision in April 2003 to bring similar cases against France, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland and Portugal (see IP/03/530).

Unlike the first three Motor Insurance Directives, the fourth Directive covers instances when the accident takes place outside the victim's Member State of residence. The Directive also applies to accidents between two EU parties in any of the 43 countries participating in the Green Card system (for more information, see the website of the Council of Bureaux, which manages the Green Card system, at

It aims to facilitate and speed up the settling of claims by allowing victims to directly refer to the insurer of the liable party rather than having to refer to the liable party him or herself. Every insurer is required to nominate a claims representative in every EU Member State, so that an accident victim can deal with a representative of the liable insurer in his or her own Member State and language.

Under the Directive, Member States are also required to:

  • impose sanctions to accelerate compensation, where liable insurers take more than three months to make a reasoned reply to a compensation request

  • establish information centres to deal with motor vehicle insurance issues in general, so as to make it easier for accident victims to find out who insures the liable party

  • establish a compensation body to settle claims in cases where there is no claims representative or where the liable insurer is too slow to settle. This body will then claim the money back from the compensation body of the Member State where the liable insurer is established.

Information concerning current infringement procedures against all Member States is available on the Europa website:

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