European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 21 June 2012

Driving licences: Commission takes Cyprus to Court

The European Commission decided today to refer Cyprus to the European Court of Justice for its failure to transpose a directive on driving licence. The directive should have been fully transposed by 19 January 2011. Failure to implement the directive may affect road safety and makes it difficult for the Cypriots to exchange the relevant driving licences in other parts of the EU.

The EU rules

Directive 2006/126/EC1 on driving licences daily affects more than 350 million European citizens. A great number of Europeans make cross-border trips within the Union for private or professional purposes and every year many Europeans and their families move to another EU country. This legislation is therefore very important for the free movement of drivers as it would abolish one of the last obstacles.

Directive 2006/126/EC updates Directive 91/439/EC2 on driving licences and further enhances the harmonisation of the European driving licence system by for example introducing new driving licence categories and a harmonised period of validity of the driving licence document.

The directive aims also at improving road safety by setting minimum standards for medical checks on professional drivers and for qualifications and continuous training for driving examiners. It also requires drivers of category AM to pass a theory test, which was not mandatory beforehand.

Another objective of the directive is to reduce the risks of fraud by using plastic card model, with the option to use a microchip.

The reason for the Court referral

Cyprus has still not fully transposed this directive into national law, although it was required to do so by 19 January 2011.

The practical effect of non-implementation

This directive is essential as it guarantees the mutual recognition of driving licences within the EU, including the new driving licence categories. Not implementing this directive could affect road safety and make it difficult for Cypriots to exchange their driving licence for a new one in other parts of the EU or for other Europeans to exchange their driving licence for a Cypriot one.

For more information please see: MEMO/12/464

Contacts :

Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)

Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)

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