The events of recent years and months – the Covid-19 epidemic and the outbreak of war in Ukraine – show very clearly that EU regulations are completely unsuited to the current reality.
The war and the arrival of refugees is a kind of test for legislation. One of the problems concerns the influx of cars registered in Ukraine, which cross state borders. Pursuant to Article 8.1 of the MID directive, any vehicle staying on the territory of a third country must have a valid green card or a border insurance certificate. In Poland this issue was solved by the offer of free-of-charge border insurance. However, there is no harmonization at the European level in this area, each of the countries bordering Ukraine has adopted a different solution.
Poland has made it possible to distribute a one-time free 30-day border insurance to motor vehicle owners from Ukraine for a period of two months. Hungary offers a 3-day free border insurance, which can be renewed later for a symbolic amount (about 13 PLN). Slovakia and Romania provide motor vehicle holders with automatic border insurance without additional requirements. The Czech Republic, Austria and Germany have adopted a model similar to the Slovak one. Vehicles from Ukraine will be covered by short-term motor insurance by law, and the scope of coverage will be limited only to the territory of those countries.
However, solutions that limit liability only to the territory of one’s own country raise numerous doubts. According to Article 14 (a) of the MID – Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that all policies of compulsory insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles cover, at the same premium and during the whole term of the contract, the entire territory of the Community. But, so far the EC has not addressed the permissibility of limiting the area of coverage of third-party liability insurance exclusively to the territory of one state due to the special circumstances underlying the war in Ukraine. In this situation, the only aid may be „force majeure,” which would be war, as this would be a circumstance excluding liability for non-performance or undue performance of an obligation. Although the concept of „force majeure” has not been defined, the CJEU has repeatedly pointed out that it is a basis of Community law principles and the term should be defined by reference to a given legal context.
However, unlike the epidemic, which affected all EU member states in a similar way, the outbreak of war in our eastern neighbours affects individual states very differently. The countries bordering Ukraine are most affected.
Finally, it is worth noting that there is also a problem with the Ukrainian driver’s license itself, as not all member states respect it. This is due to the fact that they are not signatories to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968. Future EU legislation, due to the exceptional situation in the world, should therefore include a new perspective that will allow for effective action during crisis situations.