Answer given by Mr Šemeta on behalf of the Commission
Passenger car registration tax is not harmonised at EU level. As a result, Member States remain free to levy a registration tax when a car is registered for the first time. The Commission tabled in 2005 a proposal for a Council Directive on passenger car related taxes with the aim to improve the functioning of the internal market by removing existing tax obstacles to the transfer of passenger cars from one Member State to another. However, the Council has not yet adopted a unanimous decision on the Commission's proposal.
The Court of Justice of the EU has ruled that the high rates charged under the Danish Law on registration duty on motor vehicles do not infringe EC law (see Case C‑383/01, De Danske Bilimportører).
It also follows from the Court's case-law (judgments in cases C-387/01, Weigel, point 55, and C-365/02, Lindfors, point 34) that while a registration tax might have a negative influence on the decision to exercise the right to free movement, the Treaty does not guarantee that a transfer of residence within the Union will be neutral with regard to taxation. Any disadvantage experienced by an individual as a result of such a transfer would only be contrary to the Treaty provisions if he would be at a disadvantage compared with those already subject to such a tax; e.g. the amount of the tax is higher for the migrant worker than for somebody who is already established in the Member State. Against this background the Danish registration tax does not seem to constitute a restriction of the freedom of movement principle.
The Commission is aware of the alleged occurrences of seizures of Polish registered cars in Denmark under the temporary importation arrangements. The Commission takes such seizures very seriously, as the use of a car is important for the actual exercise of the rights relating to the free movement of persons. The Commission is, therefore, currently analyzing whether the Danish rules in this area are consistent with EC law. If there is a breach of EC law, the Commission intends to pursue the matter further.
The Honourable Member points out that the 14-day deadline for registering a car after entering Denmark seems disproportionally short. In this regard the Commission notes that an individual is not necessarily required to register his car in the Member State he enters. Thus, a Polish citizen who resides temporarily in Denmark might be exempted under certain conditions from registration tax in accordance with Council Directive 83/182/EC of 28 March 1983 on tax exemptions within the Community for certain means of transport temporarily imported into one Member State from another.
-  OJ L 105, 23.4.1983.
OJ C 170 E, 10/06/2011