Could British Number Plates be replaced with an EU Design?

Image of Number PlateOn the 22nd of May the UK public will be able to vote which candidates they think should be entered into the European Parliament, which once again has ignited the debate about the UK’s relationship with the EU. Even though there are those that support the EU, there seems to be a large percentage of the public who believe that it currently has too much control over the UK. These people will therefore not be happy to hear that the body has recently proposed plans to replace the British number plate with a standard EU design.

The EU proposal was leaked to British newspapers earlier this week, and revealed the plans to change British number plate design in order to make trade of cars across European countries easier. The proposal stated: “The Commission should consider whether the cross-border trade in and free movement of vehicles could be further increased by introducing safeguards against fraudulent use of number plates and by equipping vehicles and their number plates with identification tags.

“The Commission could also consider whether the obstacles faced by citizens and businesses when transferring their vehicles from one Member State to another could be further offset if there were a possibility of equipping their vehicles with number plates in common colours.” It is believed that the plans were drawn up by the Dutch liberal democrat MEP, who according to Syed Kamall, leader of Britain’s Conservative MEPs “has introduced completely unnecessary clauses seeking a common design for all European number plates and a common system of identification tags.”

Mr Kamall went on to say: “We aim to keep our number plates just as they are, thank you. You can bet your life the common design would incorporate the EU flag. The eurocrats have failed to force us to put their symbol on our sports shirts or to fly it above our public buildings…now they are trying make it compulsory on our cars. Most British motorists want British number plates – not European ones.” RAC spokesman Simon Williams has also commented on the story, saying: “The British number plate is simple, highly effective and, while it has changed several times over the years, has been part of our driving heritage for 110 years.

“While there are clearly benefits to be had from having the same style of number plate throughout Europe with identification tags to stop fraud, it would be a real shame to lose ours. It ought to be possible to come up with a set of common guidelines that allow countries to adapt their number plates slightly without going for full standardisation. If that really has to be the way, perhaps the UK’s number plates should form the basis of a new harmonised standard, especially as several other countries already use a very clear format closely resembling ours.”

A spokeswoman from the European Commission defended the proposal however, and said: “The aim of the commission’s plans is to reduce red tape by making it easier, quicker and cheaper for people and companies to re-register their vehicles when moving them across EU borders.” However, this has not helped the reputation of the EU as a body that ‘interferes’ with the UK and its regulations, and a number of anti-EU groups have already taken this opportunity to criticise the EU in general.

Matthew Elliott, of the Eurosceptic pressure group Business For Britain, said: “It is unnecessary, meddling regulations like these which really infuriate business people and the general public alike. There is no good reason for the EU to determine how number plates look in individual countries, other than Brussels’ desire for further harmonisation, which the British people have repeatedly shown they oppose.”

With such strong opposition against the proposal it is highly unlikely the European Union will pursue it further in the near future, however motor traders should be aware that the union is trying to introduce new ways to improve motor trade across European countries. These plans could have both positive and negative effects on motor traders, which is why QuoteSearcher will keep all our readers updated with motor trade industry news as and when it happens.

Photo by QuoteSearcher