EEC acts on fines
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By Our European Correspondent
THE EEC COMMISSION has taken action after receiving complaints that international lorry drivers are being fined excessively for minor violations of the law at French border posts.
Under French law, border officials are allowed to impose on-the-spot fines instead of referring cases to the courts. Recently, a Belgian firm was fined about £1,500 because a holiday coach was overloaded when it arrived at a border post near Lille.
Germany's Federal Association of Long Distance Hauliers has complained about delays while drivers 'phone for money to pay large penalties. British drivers arriving at the French Channel ports have also been subjected to what is described in Brussels as "financial harassment" by zealous officials.
Now the EEC Commission, in answer to an MEP's question, has agreed that the French could be restricting the freedom of movement laid down in the EEC Treaty. Brussels revealed that it has already raised the issue in Paris and as a result some fines have been refunded.
Commission officials promise to intervene again if it appears that penalties on lorry drivers are excessive.