Latvia introduces restrictions for cars with Russian license plates. The decision of the parliament of the republic comes into force on February 15; it was adopted back in November, during which time the car had to be removed or re-registered. From Thursday, owners of cars with Russian license plates will face confiscation or a fine ranging from €750 to €2 thousand. From September, the entry of such cars into the Baltic countries is prohibited.
Is it easy to change numbers to Latvian ones? And how did Russians prepare for the ban? Riga resident Vladimir said that he had to take the car out of the country: “I tried to register the car here, put Latvian license plates, but, unfortunately, it didn’t work. Because although the car was a European brand, it was produced for the Russian market, that is, it does not have the necessary certification.
As a result, I had to take it to Russia and sell it. To register a car in Latvia, in particular, and, as I understand it, in the European Union in general, you need a so-called European certificate of conformity, which cars produced for the Russian market do not have. There have been no cars with Russian license plates in Latvia for quite a long time, I was like a black sheep in mine.”
Exceptions are made only for cars traveling in transit. However, if the driver cannot prove that he is traveling further through Latvia and is in the territory for less than 24 hours, the car may also be confiscated. Citizens of Latvia are advised to report cars with Russian license plates to the police.
A resident of the republic, Egor, decided to sell the car and buy a new one in Europe: “There was an option to put Latvian license plates on the car, because I have a residence permit in the country, but the cost was high. You need to pay about 30% of the cost of the car, of which, in my opinion, 20% is tax, and 10% is customs duty. Accordingly, if the cost of a car is over €20 thousand, then it hits your pocket hard, you are simply paying for the opportunity to drive your car further.
Therefore, the decision was made to take the car to Russia, sell it and then use this money to buy something in Europe, with European license plates. There is a high probability that overall it will turn out even more profitable. The cost of cars in Russia has now increased, but in Europe this market is not changing so much. Therefore, having sold a car in Russia for a certain amount, you will have to pay extra when buying a new one in Latvia or Lithuania, obviously less than the 30% that the Latvian customs service wants. In addition, the car will be completely new.”
In September, the European Commission issued clarifications in which it clarified that Russian cars can be used to circumvent sanctions. Brussels left the introduction of restrictions to the discretion of each individual country.
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