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Document 61978CJ0016

Решение на Съда от 28 ноември 1978 г.
Наказателно производство срещу Michel Choquet.
Искане за преюдициално заключение: Amtsgericht Reutlingen - Германия.
Дело 16/78.

ECLI identifier: ECLI:EU:C:1978:210

61978J0016

Judgment of the Court of 28 November 1978. - Criminal proceedings against Michel Choquet. - Reference for a preliminary ruling: Amtsgericht Reutlingen - Germany. - Recognition of driving licences between Member States. - Case 16/78.

European Court reports 1978 Page 02293
Greek special edition Page 00709
Portuguese special edition Page 00791
Swedish special edition Page 00235
Finnish special edition Page 00257


Summary
Parties
Subject of the case
Grounds
Decision on costs
Operative part

Keywords


FREE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS AND SERVICES - NATIONAL OF A MEMBER STATE - ESTABLISHMENT IN ANOTHER MEMBER STATE - DRIVING LICENCE - LICENCE ISSUED BY THE STATE OF IRIGIN - OBLIGATION TO OBTAIN A FRESH LICENCE IN THE HOST STATE - COMPATIBILITY WITH COMMUNITY LAW - CONDITIONS AND LIMITS

( EEC TREATY , ARTS . 48 , 52 AND 59 )

Summary


IT IS NOT IN PRINCIPLE INCOMPATIBLE WITH COMMUNITY LAW FOR ONE MEMBER STATE TO REQUIRE A NATIONAL OF ANOTHER MEMBER STATE , WHO IS PERMANENTLY ESTABLISHED IN ITS TERRITORY , TO OBTAIN A DOMESTIC DRIVING LICENCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF DRIVING MOTOR VEHICLES , EVEN IF HE IS IN POSSESSION OF A DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY THE AUTHORITIES IN HIS STATE OF ORIGIN .

HOWEVER , SUCH A REQUIREMENT MAY BE REGARDED AS INDIRECTLY PREJUDICING THE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT , THE RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF ESTABLISHMENT OR THE FREEDOM TO PROVIDE SERVICES GUARANTEED BY ARTICLES 48 , 52 AND 59 OF THE TREATY RESPECTIVELY , AND CONSEQUENTLY AS BEING INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE TREATY , IF IT APPEARS THAT THE CONDITIONS IMPOSED BY NATIONAL RULES ON THE HOLDER OF A DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY ANOTHER MEMBER STATE ARE NOT IN DUE PROPORTION TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF ROAD SAFETY . INSISTENCE ON A DRIVING TEST WHICH CLEARLY DUPLICATES A TEST TAKEN IN ANOTHER MEMBER STATE FOR THE CLASSES OF VEHICLE WHICH THE PERSON CONCERNED WISHES TO DRIVE , OR LINGUISTIC DIFFICULTIES ARISING OUT OF THE PROCEDURE LAID DOWN FOR THE CONDUCT OF ANY CHECKS , OR THE IMPOSITION OF EXORBITANT CHARGES FOR COMPLETING THE REQUISITE FORMALITIES COULD ALL BE EXAMPLES OF THIS .

Parties


IN CASE 16/78

REFERENCE TO THE COURT UNDER ARTICLE 177 OF THE EEC TREATY BY THE AMTSGERICHT ( LOCAL COURT ) REUTLINGEN ( FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY ) FOR A PRELIMINARY RULING IN THE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS PENDING BEFORE THAT COURT AGAINST .

MICHEL CHOQUET ( ELECTRICIAN ), RESIDING AT REUTLINGEN ,

Subject of the case


ON THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLES 5 , 7 , 48 AND 56 OF THE EEC TREATY WITH REFERENCE TO THE LAW OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY ON DRIVING LICENCES ,

Grounds


1 BY AN ORDER OF 13 FEBRUARY 1978 , WHICH WAS RECEIVED AT THE COURT REGISTRY ON 16 FEBRUARY 1978 , THE AMTSGERICHT REUTLINGEN REFERRED TO THE COURT , PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 177 OF THE EEC TREATY , A QUESTION ON THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLE 48 OF THE EEC TREATY IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF MOTOR VEHICLE DRIVING LICENCES FOR THE BENEFIT OF COMMUNITY NATIONALS .

THIS QUESTION HAS BEEN RAISED DURING CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS IN WHICH A FRENCH NATIONAL ESTABLISHED IN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY , WHERE HE IS EMPLOYED AS AN ELECTRICIAN , IS BEING PROSECUTED FOR DRIVING A MOTOR VEHICLE WITHOUT A DRIVING LICENCE WHICH IS VALID UNDER GERMAN LAW .

2 THE COURT FILE SHOWS THAT WHEN THE POLICE CARRIED OUT A CHECK ON THE OCCASION OF A ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENT IN WHICH THE ACCUSED WAS INVOLVED HE PRODUCED A DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY THE FRENCH AUTHORITIES .

THE GERMAN ADMINISTRATION DOES NOT REGARD THAT DRIVING LICENCE AS BEING VALID , WHEREAS ACCORDING TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL ROAD TRAFFIC RULES A HOLDER OF A FOREIGN DRIVING LICENCE WHO HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR IN THE TERRITORY OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY IS OBLIGED TO OBTAIN A GERMAN DRIVING LICENCE .

HOWEVER , ACCORDING TO THE INFORMATION SUPPLIED DURING THESE PROCEEDINGS , IN THAT CASE THE CONDITIONS TO WHICH THE ISSUE OF THE DRIVING LICENCE ARE SUBJECT ARE SIMPLIFIED AS COMPARED WITH THE PROCEDURE FOR THE ISSUE OF THE DOMESTIC DRIVING LICENCE AND DO NOT AS A GENERAL RULE LEAD TO A FRESH DRIVING TEST .

IN THIS CONNEXION THE COURT MAKING THE REFERENCE POINTS OUT THAT THE ACQUISITION OF A FRESH DRIVING LICENCE MAY NEVERTHELESS CREATE LANGUAGE DIFFICULTIES AND INVOLVE THE PERSON CONCERNED IN EXPENSES WHICH ARE SO DISPROPORTIONATE THAT THEY MAY AMOUNT TO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST NATIONALS OF THE OTHER MEMBER STATES IN CONTRAVENTION OF ARTICLE 7 OF THE TREATY AND MAY IMPEDE THE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FOR WORKERS WHICH IS GUARANTEED BY ARTICLE 48 .

3 IT IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF RESOLVING THIS DOUBT THAT THE AMTSGERICHT HAS REFERRED TO THE COURT THE QUESTION WHETHER IT IS ' ' COMPATIBLE WITH COMMUNITY LAW FOR A MEMBER STATE OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY TO REQUIRE THE NATIONALS OF OTHER MEMBER STATES TO POSSESS A DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY THE FIRST MEMBER STATE FOR DRIVING MOTOR VEHICLES AND , AS THE CASE MAY BE , TO PENALIZE THEM FOR DRIVING WITHOUT SUCH A DRIVING LICENCE EVEN THOUGH SUCH CITIZENS OF THE COMMUNITY HAVE A RIGHT OF RESIDENCE UNDER ARTICLE 48 ET SEQ . OF THE EEC TREATY AND ARE IN POSSESSION OF AN EQUIVALENT DRIVING LICENCE FROM THEIR OWN COUNTRY ' ' .

THE CONNEXION BETWEEN THE MATTER AT ISSUE AND THE EEC-TREATY

4 THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM , IN ITS OBSERVATIONS SUBMITTED DURING THE PROCEEDINGS , DREW ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO COMMUNITY LEGAL PROVISION WHICH SPECIFICALLY RELATES TO THE ISSUE OF DRIVING LICENCES .

IN THIS CONNEXION IT SHOULD BE POINTED OUT , IN THE FIRST PLACE , THAT THE COMMISSION IN A PROPOSAL FOR A DIRECTIVE ON THE HARMONIZATION OF THE LAWS RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLE DRIVING LICENCES , WHICH IT SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL ON 5 DECEMBER 1975 ( OFFICIAL JOURNAL 1976 , NO C 8 , P . 2 ), INDICATED THAT ARTICLE 75 ( 1 ) ( C ) OF THE TREATY RELATING TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A COMMON TRANSPORT POLICY WAS THE LEGAL BASIS OF THE MEASURES PROPOSED .

THAT ARTICLE , WHICH AUTHORIZES THE COUNCIL TO LAY DOWN ' ' ANY . . . APPROPRIATE PROVISIONS ' ' IN TRANSPORT MATTERS , COULD INDICATE A SOLUTION TO THE DISPUTE ONLY BY WAY OF IMPLEMENTING MEASURES ADOPTED BY THE COUNCIL , AND AT THE PRESENT STAGE THERE ARE NONE .

IT MUST NEVERTHELESS BE APPRECIATED THAT NATIONAL RULES RELATING TO THE ISSUE AND MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF DRIVING LICENCES BY THE MEMBER STATES EXERT AN INFLUENCE , BOTH DIRECT AND INDIRECT , ON THE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHTS GUARANTEED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE TREATY RELATING TO FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FOR WORKERS , TO ESTABLISHMENT AND , SUBJECT TO THE REFERENCE CONTAINED IN ARTICLE 61 ( 1 ) OF THE TREATY , TO THE PROVISION OF SERVICES IN GENERAL .

IN FACT , TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE IMPORTANCE OF INDIVIDUAL MEANS OF TRANSPORT , THE POSSESSION OF A DRIVING LICENCE DULY RECOGNIZED BY THE HOST STATE MAY AFFECT THE ACTUAL PURSUIT BY PERSONS SUBJECT TO COMMUNITY LAW OF A LARGE NUMBER OF OCCUPATIONS FOR EMPLOYED OR SELF-EMPLOYED PERSONS .

5 IT IS APPARENT THEREFORE THAT , EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY SPECIFIC COMMUNITY LAW PROVISIONS IN THIS FIELD , THE AMTSGERICHT WAS RIGHT TO REFER ITS QUESTION ASKING THE COURT TO RULE ON THE POSSIBLE EFFECT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ISSUE OR RECOGNITION OF DRIVING LICENCES ON FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FOR WORKERS , TO WHICH MUST BE ADDED THE FREEDOM OF ESTABILSHMENT AND THE FREEDOM TO PROVIDE SERVICES , WHICH ARE ALL GUARANTEED BY THE TREATY .

THE SUBSTANCE

6 THE RULES REGARDING THE ISSUE OF DRIVING LICENCES , INCLUDING THE DETERMINATION OF THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH A FOREIGN DRIVING LICENCE MAY BE RECOGNIZED OR EXCHANGED FOR A DOMESTIC DRIVING LICENCE , FALL PRIMARILY WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE RESPONSIBILITIES DEVOLVING UPON THE MEMBER STATES , WITHIN THEIR NATIONAL TERRITORY , CONCERNING THE SAFETY OF HIGHWAY TRAFFIC .

7 A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE PRESENT POSITION IN THIS FIELD IN THE MEMBER STATES MAKES IT CLEAR THAT THEIR LAWS ON THE ISSUE OF DRIVING LICENCES - ESPECIALLY AS FAR AS CONCERNS THE RULES FOR DRIVING TESTS , THE FREQUENCY OF MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS , THE TERM OF VALIDITY OF DRIVING LICENCES AND THE DEFINITION OF THE DIFFERENT CLASSES OF MOTOR VEHICLES - DIFFER TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT THE MERE RECOGNITION OF DRIVING LICENCES FOR THE BENEFIT OF PERSONS WHO ELECT TO RESIDE PERMANENTLY WITHIN THE TERRITORY OF A MEMBER STATE OTHER THAN THE STATE WICH ISSUED THEM WITH A DRIVING LICENCE CANNOT BE CONTEMPLATED UNLESS THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ISSUE OF THOSE DRIVING LICENCES ARE HARMONIZED TO A SUFFICIENT EXTENT .

IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES THE REQUIREMENTS IMPOSED BY A MEMBER STATE ON PERSONS ESTABLISHED WITHIN ITS TERRITORY , IN SO FAR AS THE RECOGNITION OF DRIVING LICENCES ISSUED BY OTHER MEMBER STATES IS CONCERNED , CANNOT BE REGARDED AS AMOUNTING IN THEMSELVES TO AN OBSTACLE TO FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FOR WORKERS , TO FREEDOM OF ESTABLISHMENT OR TO THE LIBERALIZATION OF THE PROVISION OF SERVICES .

CONSEQUENTLY , CONTROLS DESIGNED TO GUARANTEE TO MEMBER STATES THAT THE HOLDER OF A DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY ANOTHER MEMBER STATE WHO IS ESTABLISHED WITHIN THEIR TERRITORY SATISFIES THE REQUIREMENTS LAID DOWN FOR THEIR OWN NATIONALS BY THE LEGISLATION APPLICABLE IN THAT FIELD CANNOT IN PRINCIPLE BE REGARDED AS REQUIREMENT WHICH IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE RULES OF THE TREATY .

8 LEGISLATIVE PROVISIONS OF THIS KIND COULD BE CONSIDERED TO CONTRAVENE COMMUNITY LAW ONLY IF THEIR APPLICATION WERE TO CAUSE PERSONS IN ONE MEMBER STATE WHO HAD OBTAINED A DRIVING LICENCE IN ANOTHER MEMBER STATE SUCH DIFFICULTIES THAT THOSE PERSONS WOULD IN FACT BE HINDERED IN THE FREE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHTS WHICH ARTICLES 48 , 52 AND 59 OF THE TREATY GUARANTEE THEM IN CONNEXION WITH THE FREE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS , FREEDOM OF ESTABLISHMENT AND FREEDOM TO PROVIDE SERVICES .

INSISTENCE ON A DRIVING TEST WHICH CLEARLY DUPLICATES A TEST TAKEN IN ANOTHER MEMBER STATE FOR THE CLASSES OF VEHICLE WHICH THE PERSON CONCERNED WISHES TO DRIVE , OR LINGUISTIC DIFFICULTIES ARISING OUT OF THE PROCEDURE LAID DOWN FOR THE CONDUCT OF ANY CHECKS , OR THE IMPOSITION OF EXORBITANT CHARGES FOR COMPLETING THE REQUISITE FORMALITIES COULD ALL BE EXAMPLES OF THIS .

SUCH OBSTACLES TO THE RECOGNITION OF A DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY ANOTHER MEMBER STATE ARE NOT IN FACT IN DUE PROPORTION TO THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SAFETY OF HIGHWAY TRAFFIC .

9 THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION REFERRED MUST THEREFORE BE THAT IT IS NOT IN PRINCIPLE INCOMPATIBLE WITH COMMUNITY LAW FOR ONE MEMBER STATE TO REQUIRE A NATIONAL OF ANOTHER MEMBER STATE , WHO IS PERMANENTLY ESTABLISHED IN ITS TERRITORY , TO OBTAIN A DOMESTIC DRIVING LICENCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF DRIVING MOTOR VEHICLES , EVEN IF HE IS IN POSSESSION OF A DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY THE AUTHORITIES IN HIS STATE OF ORIGIN .

HOWEVER , SUCH A REQUIREMENT MAY BE REGARDED AS INDIRECTLY PREJUDICING THE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT , THE RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF ESTABLISHMENT OR THE FREEDOM TO PROVIDE SERVICES GUARANTEED BY ARTICLES 48 , 52 AND 59 OF THE TREATY RESPECTIVELY , AND CONSEQUENTLY AS BEING INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE TREATY , IF IT APPEARS THAT THE CONDITIONS IMPOSED BY NATIONAL RULES ON THE HOLDER OF A DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY ANOTHER MEMBER STATE ARE NOT IN DUE PROPORTION TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF ROAD SAFETY .

Decision on costs


COSTS

10 THE COSTS INCURRED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS , THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES , WHICH HAVE SUBMITTED OBSERVATIONS TO THE COURT , ARE NOT RECOVERABLE .

AS THESE PROCEEDINGS ARE IN THE NATURE OF A STEP IN THE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS PENDING BEFORE THE AMTSGERICHT REUTLINGEN , THE DECISION AS TO COSTS IS A MATTER FOR THAT COURT .

Operative part


ON THOSE GROUNDS ,

THE COURT ,

IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION REFERRED TO IT BY THE AMTSGERICHT REUTLINGEN BY ORDER OF 13 FEBRUARY 1978 , HEREBY RULES :

1 . IT IS NOT IN PRINCIPLE INCOMPATIBLE WITH COMMUNITY LAW FOR ONE MEMBER STATE TO REQUIRE A NATIONAL OF ANOTHER MEMBER STATE , WHO IS PERMANENTLY ESTABLISHED IN ITS TERRITORY , TO OBTAIN A DOMESTIC DRIVING LICENCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF DRIVING MOTOR VEHICLES , EVEN IF HE IS IN POSSESSION OF A DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY THE AUTHORITIES IN HIS STATE OF ORIGIN .

2 . HOWEVER , SUCH A REQUIREMENT MAY BE REGARDED AS INDIRECTLY PREJUDICING THE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT , THE RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF ESTABLISHMENT OR THE FREEDOM TO PROVIDE SERVICES GUARANTEED BY ARTICLES 48 , 52 AND 59 OF THE TREATY RESPECTIVELY , AND CONSEQUENTLY AS BEING INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE TREATY , IF IT APPEARS THAT THE CONDITIONS IMPOSED BY NATIONAL RULES ON THE HOLDER OF A DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY ANOTHER MEMBER STATE ARE NOT IN DUE PROPORTION TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF ROAD SAFETY .

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