Finland has been ordered by the European Commission to change legislation that disqualifies car passengers from insurance cover when the driver is drunk and involved in an accident. Brussels says this exclusion of passengers' injuries contravenes the EU's second motor insurance directive which seeks to facilitate free movement within the EU and to safeguard the interests of persons who may be injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Under a ruling by the European Court of Justice in 1996, "the emphasis must be on protecting the third party who is a victim of the accident, rather than on his/her ability to assess properly whether or not the driver is too intoxicated to drive," the Commission said.

Finland says it will change its laws but the Commission says it has had no evidence of this to date and has given the country two months to toe the line or face legal action in the Court.