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European Commission - Press release

Driving licences: Commission requests Denmark, Lithuania, the United Kingdom and Portugal to adopt measures on driving licences

Brussels, 26 January 2012 - The European Commission has today asked Denmark, Lithuania, the United Kingdom and Portugal to adapt their national legislation on driving licences so as to ensure that EU rules can be applicable as of January 2013. The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If the four countries fail to inform the Commission within two months of measures taken to ensure full compliance with the Directive, the Commission could refer the case to the European Court of Justice.

The EU rules

Directive 2006/126/EC updates Directive 91/439/EC on driving licences, by for example introducing new driving licence categories and a harmonised period of validity of the driving licence document. These new rules will help to reduce possibilities of fraud, guarantee a true freedom of movement for EU drivers and reinforce safety on European roads.

The reason for today's action

Denmark, Lithuania, the United Kingdom and Portugal still have not fully transposed this Directive into national law, although they were required to do so by 19 January 2011.

The practical effect of non-implementation

The Directive guarantees the mutual recognition of driving licences within the EU, including the new licence categories. Not implementing this Directive could affect road safety and make it difficult for the citizens of these countries to exchange their driving licence for a new one in other parts of the EU or for citizens of other European countries to exchange their driving licence in these countries.

More information on infringement procedures: MEMO/12/42

Contacts :

Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)

Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)


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