Year after year, the Brussels Region loses more income from foreigners who do not pay their parking tickets and fines. Two years ago that was 4.6 million euros, last year it was 6.1 million euros. This year the amount has already risen to 6.7 million euros (count at the beginning of October). This is evident from a parliamentary question from the French-speaking party Défi to Brussels Minister of Mobility, Elke Van den Brandt (Green).
It is a problem that every city and municipality is confronted with. Foreign drivers who do not pay their parking fees now simply go free. Because it concerns an administrative procedure – and therefore not judicial – there is no European cooperation on this. There has recently been an agreement with France and the Netherlands, but even there it does not mean that everyone just pays.
In the Brussels Region, where most foreigners come, this is now spiraling out of control. The 6.7 million that the region has lost since the beginning of this year accounts for 14.5 percent of this year’s parking revenue. Last year that was 12 percent, two years ago 7 percent.
“We are looking hard for ways to recover this income,” says Pierre Vassart, spokesperson for the parking.brussels agency. “We are now working with bailiffs to also write to defaulters abroad, but that has proven to be inefficient for the time being. It is expensive and produces relatively few results.”
The agency is therefore now looking for more drastic measures. “We are investigating the possibility of blocking the cars of persistent defaulters,” said Vassart. “We are looking at whether it is legally possible to secure it with a wheel clamp. We would use this for foreign drivers who pile up parking fines, not for those who are one fee behind.
In any case, other cities prove that something like this is already perfectly possible. This summer the city council of Lier announced the same. The reason was Romanian seasonal workers who consciously took advantage of the gap in the legislation and consistently failed to pay their fines. By blocking them with a wheel clamp, Lier now wants to force them.
Sint-Truiden also already uses the technology. Just last week, the mayor had a Romanian’s car secured with a wheel clamp because he owed the city ten parking tickets. A fate that will soon also await foreign drivers in Brussels.
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