The Brussels initiative
EU Parliament in BrusselsEU Parliament in Brussels

On July 3, 2007 a meeting took place in Brussels, hosted by Mrs. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of the EU Parliament. The objective of the meeting was to get international support on the level of decision- makers for compulsory WOVM (Whole of Vehicle Marking) with microdots for all new vehicles. The speakers - besides Mrs. Hennis- were Mr. Ray Carroll (National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council) presenting experiences from Australia, Mr. Graham Wright (Business Against Crime) presenting experience from South Africa. The representatives of the car manufacturers, police and microdot producers were also present.


Two sets of EU regulations have been issued to aid the fight against vehicle theft:
Council Directive 1999/37 on the registration documents for vehicles and
Council Decision 2004/919 on tackling vehicle crime with cross-border implica-
tions.


Nevertheless, professional car thieves, mostly internationally organized, make large numbers of cars "disappear" either by altering the identity of the stolen vehicles or by stripping them and trafficking the unidentifiable parts. This highly professional crime is very difficult to combat. In spite of the EU regulations mentioned, stolen vehicles continue to be re-registered within the EU, and the trafficking in parts of stolen vehicles continues unhindered. According to an international expert group that studied this subject, an EU-wide introduction of WOVM is the only way to deal a decisive blow against this type of crime. The car manufacturers are reluctant to voluntarily introduce WOVM because of the cost increases. A Directive for compulsory WOVM is therefore necessary in order to introduce it simultaneously in all EU countries and across all car brands.


To tackle vehicle theft, vehicle identification should be improved, and WOVM is, according to Mrs. Hennis, a fundamental component of this comprehensive strategy. Indeed, WOVM has the potential to save many, many hours spent by police tracing stolen cars and parts freeing the police to address terrorism and violent crime cases. As a consequence, micro dotting should be further supported and endorsed.


As a result of this initiative, an official set of questions was sent to the European Commission with a request to provide a detailed overview of all steps which need to be taken in order to ensure effective vehicle identification measures and a request to the Commission to indicate if (and when) the Commission will proceed with building the case for the mandatory WOVM.


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