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Vehicle registration plates of the European Union

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Vehicle registration plates of the European Union

The stars from the European Flag are featured in a blue band on most national plates.

Vehicle registration plates of the European Union are the mandatory number plates used to display the registration mark of a vehicle in the respective Member States. Most motor vehicles which are used on public roads are required by law to display them.


The common EU format of having a blue section on the extreme left with EU circle of stars and the country code was introduced by Council Regulation (EC) No 2411/98 of 3 November 1998[1] and entered into force on the 11 November 1998. It was based on a model registration plate which several member states had introduced: Ireland (1991),[2] Portugal (1992) [3] and Germany (1994).[4] Luxembourg plates had displayed the European Flag on the left part since 1988.

The EU format is optional in Finland and the United Kingdom. Denmark implemented the EU format on a voluntary basis in 2009.[5] Vehicles with EU number plates do not need to display the white oval international vehicle registration code while within another member state.

Within the United Kingdom, motorists with vehicles registered in Great Britain may use number plates featuring the national flag of England, Scotland and Wales, or alternatively the Union Flag, together with the code name "ENG" for England, "SCO" for Scotland, "Wales" or "CYM" for Wales, "GB" for Great Britain or "UK" for United Kingdom respectively. Although not officially recognised outside the UK, they are authorised by the nation's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.[6] However, motorists with vehicles registered in Northern Ireland fall within the jurisdiction of the Driver & Vehicle Agency, which does not permit the letters NI to appear alongside any flag; only the Union Flag alongside GB/UK or the EU format (featuring in this case the letters GB), being optionally permitted.[7] The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, unlike the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, counts as part of the EU and, therefore, uses number plates in the EU format.

Several non-EU European states have implemented similar formats, replacing the Circle of stars with own symbols. Norway is an example of such state, issuing europlates with the Norwegian flag replacing the Circle of stars. From those states that joined in the 2004 enlargement of the European Union Malta already used europlates, while Latvia, Poland and Lithuania had used EU number plates displaying the national flag before their accession, as did Bulgaria and Romania before their accession in 2007. These formats are valid in countries that has signed the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, as both the EU format and e.g the Norwegian format satisfies the requirements set in the convention.


Vehicle registration plates of each European Union country are described in the following table:
Member state Abbr. Example
 Austria A
 Belgium B
 Bulgaria BG
 Croatia HR
 Cyprus CY
 Czech Republic CZ
 Denmark DK
 Estonia EST
 Finland FIN
 France F
 Germany D
 Gibraltar GBZ
 Greece GR
 Hungary H
 Ireland IRL
 Italy I
 Latvia LV
 Lithuania LT
 Luxembourg L
 Malta M
 Netherlands NL
 Poland PL
 Portugal P
 Romania RO
 Slovakia SK
 Slovenia SLO
 Spain E
 Sweden S
 United Kingdom GB

Motorcycle plates

These are used for motorcycles and vehicles where mounting space is an issue, such as taxis which display their licence plate beside the registration plate, and vehicles imported from countries where the mounting space was not originally designed to take European-sized plates (e.g. USA).
Member state Abbr. Example
 France F
 Germany D
 Italy I
 Latvia LV
 Malta M
 Poland PL
 Spain E
 Sweden S
 United Kingdom

See also


  1. ^ Council Regulation (EC) No 2411/98 of 3 November 1998
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ (dänisch)
  6. ^ DVLA (27 April 2009). "INF104: Vehicle registration numbers and number plates" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  7. ^
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