Unpaid fines in Brussels: less than two percent of foreigners pay
While Belgians are often invited to pay their debt when fined in the capital, this is less the case for foreign drivers. Less than 2 percent of the fines imposed on foreigners are actually paid. According to the municipal administration, the defaulters are mainly foreign drivers who live in Belgium, reports Business AM.
Brussels Mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen) was recently asked about this and confirmed that "the payment percentage for foreign number plates is much lower than for Belgian number plates".
Parking.brussels, the parking agency of the Brussels Capital Region, indicates that the payment percentage is barely two percent, while it is 70 percent for Belgians caught on the same offence in France and the Netherlands.
Although the Brussels parking collection agency works with a bailiff's office, the results are inadequate due to the large number of international systems and sometimes very cumbersome procedures.
Unpaid parking fines
For example, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, a city and municipality in the Brussels Capital Region enclosed between the city of Brussels and Schaerbeek, has more than 600,000 euros in unpaid parking fines from foreigners. Only motorists from France and the Netherlands, countries with which agreements exist, are said to have collected their fines correctly. Parking.brussels also states that as many French and Dutch people pay their fines as Belgians.
In the meantime, things are going from bad to worse, which is why parking.brussels wants to install wheel clamps and block off offending vehicles. But to be able to place wheel clamps, permission from the municipalities is needed, and that permission has not yet been obtained. The Sint-Joost municipality, which does not cooperate with parking.brussels, has decided to install wheel clamps itself on vehicles of offenders after the summer holidays.
Foreigners living in Belgium
According to the municipality, the defaulters are not so much tourists or visitors, but rather foreign motorists who live in Belgium and use a car that is still registered abroad in order to avoid parking fees and possibly also car taxes and low emission zones.
This phenomenon is also on the increase, despite the fact that every foreigner living in Belgium must re-register his or her vehicle on our territory to avoid this kind of situation. Indeed, the law stipulates that a foreigner living in Belgium can use a car registered abroad, but only for a maximum period of one month.