On 6 October 2022, the Court rules on a preliminary ruling in Case C-266/21, concerning the interpretation of Article 2(4) and Article 4(1)(d) of Council Framework Decision 2008/947/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments and probation decisions with a view to the supervision of probation measures and alternative sanctions (OJ 2008 L 337, p. 102) and of Article 11(2) and (4) of Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on driving licences.

The request for a preliminary ruling was made in proceedings concerning the enforcement, in Spain, of a decision suspending the right to drive taken in Bulgaria in respect of HV, a person residing in Spain and holding a driving licence issued by Spain in exchange for a driving licence issued by Bulgaria.

The Sofiyski gradski sad (Sofia City Court, Bulgaria, the “referring court”) found HV guilty of driving a motor vehicle in Bulgarian territory in breach of road traffic regulations and negligently causing moderate bodily harm to more than one person, and on that occasion it decided to suspend HV’s right to drive a motor vehicle for a period of six months from the day on which the judgment would become final. The prosecutor at the referring court subsequently informed the latter that that suspension was not enforceable in Bulgarian territory because HV is permanently resident in Spain and his driving licence issued by the Bulgarian authorities was exchanged against an equivalent licence issued by the Spanish authorities. In this regard, the referring court found a conflict between the principle of territoriality of criminal and police laws, set out in Article 11(2) of Directive 2006/126, and the principle of mutual recognition of judgments in criminal matters, as embodied in Framework Decision 2008/947, and established that it was necessary to determine which of the two acts was applicable. In light of the need to interpret the relevant EU legislation, the referring court decided to stay to proceedings and to refer two questions for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice.

Given that there was no need to answer to the first question in view of the answer given to the second question, only the second question is reported below.

By its second question, the referring Court has asked, in essence, whether the combined provisions of Article 11(2) and the second subparagraph of Article 11(4) of Directive 2006/126 must be interpreted as authorising the Member State of normal residence of the holder of a driving licence issued by that Member State not to recognise and enforce in its territory a decision suspending that holder’s right to drive a motor vehicle adopted by another Member State on account of a road traffic offence committed in that Member State’s territory, including where that driving licence was issued in exchange for a driving licence previously issued by the Member State in which the road traffic offence was committed.

The Court has answered affirmatively to the second question, ruling that the combined provisions of Article 11(2) and the second subparagraph of Article 11(4) of Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council 20 December 2006 on driving licences must be interpreted as authorising the Member State of normal residence of the holder of a driving licence issued by that Member State not to recognise and enforce in its territory a decision suspending that holder’s right to drive a motor vehicle adopted by another Member State on account of a road traffic offence committed in that Member State’s territory, including where that driving licence was issued in exchange for a driving licence previously issued by the Member State in which the road traffic offence was committed.