Being subject to a sanction imposed in a country other than that of their own has often led to the impunity of the offender. It’s enough to take the example of sanctions resulting from the violations of the Highway Code, which are often not enforced against foreign subjects.
Ensuring a high level of security within the European Union’s area of freedom, security and justice requires the certainty of the application of sanctions resulting from the commission of crimes and violation of administrative rules.
To this end, in February 2005, the Council adopted its Framework Decision 214/JHA on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to financial penalties. This allows a judicial or administrative authority to pass a pecuniary sanction directly to the authority of another member state of the European Union in order to recognize and execute such sanctions without further formalities. The procedure applies in case a sanction is imposed on a non-resident of the EU member state in which the crime or offense was committed, and the offender leaves the territory of that member state without fulfilling its obligation to pay the fine.
For the purposes of this Framework Decision a ‘decision’ shall mean a final decision requiring a financial penalty to be paid by a natural or legal person.
The framework decision therefore applies to all offences in relation to which financial penalties can be imposed and dual criminality (i.e. when an offence exists under the law of both issuing and enforcing country) checks are abolished in relation to 39 listed offences, such as:
– Road traffic offences;
– participation in a criminal organisation;
– trafficking in human beings, in arms and in stolen vehicles;
– swindling (obtaining money or possessions fraudulently);
The state to which the decision was transmitted can only refuse to execute the decision in limited cases.
With the exception of Greece, all member states of the European Union have adopted the Framework Decision. The process of implementation in Ireland is still ongoing but should be completed by the end of 2017. Italy has adopted the Decision with the Legislative Decree of 15 February 2016, which entered into force on 27 March 2016.