Concern over Spike in Bulgarian Registered Vehicles
by Keith Micallef
A Bulgarian newspaper has revealed that an ever increasing number of Italians are registering their vehicles in this Eastern European country to save hundreds of euros in insurance and registration each year. The situation has now reached alarming proportions, with the Bulgarian authorities deeply concerned. However no concrete measures have been taken so far to curb this abuse.
In the meantime cars with Bulgarian registration plates have also started to appear locally, raising questions whether this practice has spread to Malta as well. The vast majority of these vehicles are high end models of luxury brands like BMW or Mercedes, which in Malta cost hefty sums to insure.
According to the Bulgarian newspaper "24 chasa" this practice is very popular in Rome and Milan. It says that owners of Bulgarian registered cars have up to one year to register their vehicle in their country of residence. However, the Sofia based newspaper says that it is possible to find Bulgarian nationals who may 'offer' to have the car registered on themselves to avoid any administrative penalties when this one-year period elapses.
As for the insurance costs, a policy which in Italy costs around EUR 850, would only cost EUR 120 in Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian newspaper also claims that "it is easier expecting a letter from a dead person" rather than to be notified by the Italian authorities in Bulgaria of such an infringement. At the same time it claims that there is no risk of accumulating penalty points which could result in the revocation of one's driving license. With such lax enforcement it is not surprising that this kind of practice is on the increase.