Question for written answer E-000169/2020
to the Commission
Subject: Excessive taxation of cars within the (internal) EU market and rising car prices
It is clear that, due to the high customs duties on cars imported from the EU, a car costs much more in Greece than in the other Member States. The result of this is that a car of the same kind is less accessible to a Greek citizen than to another European citizen, and competition on the car market does not function properly.
What is more, in recent years, the Greek customs authorities have regularly been imposing ex-post additional duties on cars imported up to two years ago, forcing citizens to pay years of additional duties on cars they purchased legally, and car dealers for cars they have already sold.
In view of the above, I would like to ask the Commission:
1 Has it looked into these violations by Greece of the free movement of goods and of the customs union by imposing duties on cars imported from the EU? If so, what are the findings of its investigations?
2 Is it planning to take action on the issue of the over-taxation of cars on the EU market, in order to protect Greek and European traders and citizens, who are paying more than they should for the average car? If so, what action is it planning to take?
Answer given by Mr Gentiloni
on behalf of the European Commission
There is no harmonisation at EU level with regard to the taxation of private passenger cars. As a result, Member States have freedom in deciding how to apply such taxes, provided that they comply with EU law.
This includes Article 110 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, which prohibits tax discrimination on products imported from other Member States in relation to similar domestic products.
The Commission is currently examining the Greek legislation on car taxation and is in contact with the Greek authorities to assess whether such taxation complies with the EU law in particular potential discriminatory effects.