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Brussels, 8 October 2009

Commission refers Greece to the Court over free establishment of road hauliers and fuel traders

The European Commission decided today to bring Greece to the European Court of Justice for its failure to comply with European rules on freedom of establishment for operators in the road transport and fuel marketing sectors. The Commission considers that Greece has failed to respect its obligation under the Treaty by restricting the registration of public use vehicles and private tankers, and by introducing minimum tariffs for transportation services.

The Commission has found that the freedom of establishment for road transport and fuel marketing activities in Greece is hampered and newcomers are discriminated against without considering the individual situation and financial capacity of the applicant undertakings. This stems from restrictive Greek rules on the registration of vehicles used to provide transport services to third parties (so called "public use vehicles") and rules on the registration of tankers by fuel trading companies.

Furthermore, the obligation to charge fixed tariffs is liable to dissuade foreign operators from entering the road haulage sector. It also impedes the ones already established from further developing their business.

On 29 January 2009, the Commission sent to Greece a Reasoned Opinion concerning the above. Greece has not taken the necessary measures to comply with the Reasoned Opinion, nor has it provided new evidence that would enable to dissipate the Commission's doubts on the compatibility of the measures with the Internal Market.

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