Eight European countries join forces to launch the EUROPSARKS project

EUROSPARKS is a new project within the SPARKS Programme, an initiative that enables traffic authorities in EU member states to collaborate on the issue of cross-border enforcement of traffic violations and to spread political understanding of the issue.
Lawyers and municipality associations are working together through EUROSPARKS to identify legal solutions that will enable traffic authorities to enforce judgments across EU borders.

Representatives from eight member states attending the launch in London were enthusiastic about EUROSPARKS' potential to pinpoint issues and develop robust solutions, so penalties for civil and administrative traffic violations can be enforced across national borders.

The launch was a chance for partners to meet each other, share issues they face enforcing local traffic laws against foreign registered vehicles, and discuss the interpretation of EU legislation in their own countries.
They were also able to meet academic lawyers from the universities of Hull, Osnabruck, Utrecht and Sciences-Po in Paris, who will be conducting a full analysis of the legal basis for judicial enforcement across borders and a comparative analysis of national laws in similar policy areas.

Among the challenges partners identified were differing definitions of criminal, civil and administrative traffic laws, differing interpretations of EU legislation and differing liabilities. In some EU member states including the UK, the registered keeper is liable for traffic fines; in other states the driver is responsible.

Transport for London head of traffic enforcement Patrick Troy said: "It is clear municipalities in other European states face the same problems as UK local authorities. They can't identify the person to send a penalty change notice to and they can't enforce the penalty legally or recover the fine".

"Though partners believe a proper solution has to be found at EU level there is also agreement that we all need to work with national governments to tackle these issues".

More than 30 people from municipalities, academic institutions and other partner organisations in Malta, Italy, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France and the United Kingdom attended the EUROSPARKS launch.
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