Tuesday, 29 September

European Car Plates and Ukraine

Cars with EU registration have become the hottest topic in Ukraine in the last few months. The owners of cars with foreign plates, police, and especially the state in the person of Ms. Yuzhanina — everybody has a personal opinion on this topic. But the most active part in the discussion is taken, in fact, by the so-called “sofa battalion”, i.e. people who often do not even have a driving license.

Such a high degree of tension testifies to the fact that the situation is coming to some sort of logical resolution. Let’s not forget that the elections are right around the corner, so it would be strange if the politicians did not make use of the issue, which touches at least a million voters, if not more.

How come more than a million? That is because there are more than 500 000 cars with European registration, multiplied by approximately 3 family members of the car’s owner plus tens of thousands of people who would love to buy a cheap car if the new customs rules come into effect.

Hence, the political performance is simple: the problem could have been resolved long ago by adopting a new law which would allow the owners of cars with EU registration to legalize their cars, through a process that is easy, fast and cheap.

The authorities did not choose the simple way only because it would then be impossible for them to collect their winner’s wreaths. Of course, they had to bring the problem to a critical level, in order to solve it heroically afterwards!

So let’s empower the police to check customs records and look for violators of customs rules, let’s arrange a hunt for “EU-plates”, intimidate people and stir up emotions. And then, in the fall, Poroshenko will put an end to it, protecting the people and signing the new customs laws. Halleluiah! Victory! He saved us! Vote for the defender of ordinary people!

I hope this will be the case. Meanwhile, the general policy of the state in this matter is worth analyzing. Nina Yuzhanina keeps arguing that, allegedly, car maintenance is much more expensive in Europe. Which means that there is no profit for the state in reducing the duty and canceling excise taxes.

I will not write here about “protection of the domestic car industry”, because this joke is not funny anymore. Especially for the authorities, who, for some reason, do not hurry to buy Tavria, Slavuta and Daewoo Lanos. If you are interested, take a look at Yuzhanina’s property declaration: she personally decided not to support the Ukrainian car industry, whereas she desperately wishes such “happiness” for the Ukrainian people.

It is important to understand another thing, which is the fundamental principle of relations between the state and the people. After all, it is the people who are the source of power, so the state de facto is a service created by the people for their own needs.

The state is not created to spoil people’s lives, impose unaffordable duties on them and prevent development. On the contrary, the state should create conditions for a comfortable life as well as provide a favorable climate for business development.

And if we have a crisis of the economy, the national currency has collapsed three times, there is war going on in the country and people’s incomes have significantly decreased, the state must meet the needs of its own people and help them during these hard times. It is ridiculous that, in the background of all these economic problems, an old rusty clunker is more expensive than a good car in the European Union.

In the end, the authorities have a choice. To have several hundred thousand “problematic” and unrecorded cars, whose owners are not going to pay (because they cannot afford it) immense duties and excise taxes. Or to take some one thousand euros, fill up the treasury and give out

Ukrainian plates to everybody, allowing police to track the cars and fine their owners if necessary. This second variant is also a step towards meeting halfway the people who will go out to vote next year.

It would be nice if common sense won in such a choice. So we await the autumn and the authorities’ decisive actions to heroically resolve the problem which they themselves created.

Andrii Lyubka

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