… Portugal included
MSN News reports that British disability blue badges are no longer being recognised in major holiday destinations across Europe thanks to the fallout from Brexit, the government has admitted.
Automatic recognition for Britain’s 2.4 million blue badge holders – a perk of EU membership – stopped across Europe on 31 December 2020 when the EU transition period ended. Ministers promised to negotiate individual deals with EU countries to recognise British badges, but a year on they have still failed to do so for the most popular destinations.
The Independent also reports that travellers with disabilities still face uncertainty and inconvenience in countries including France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal – all of which are still officially in talks with the UK government over the issue.
The countries are believed to be resistant to recognising British badges because it is difficult for local officials and parking wardens to verify the authenticity of non-EU badges – a problem EU badges do not have because they are of a common design and part of the same scheme. With international travel off the agenda for most people due to the Covid pandemic, the issue has so far slipped under the radar.
When Britain left the EU, the design of the British badge, allowing holders to use disabled parking spots, was changed to remove the EU flag – but along with the redesign went the right for it to be automatically recognised.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said blue badge holders should now check with the embassy of their destination country before travelling to see what the local policy was. A full list of countries’ policies has also been published on GOV.UK.
The Guardian reported in November 2019 that the government has removed the EU emblem and its 12 gold stars from British disabled drivers’ parking badges even though the UK had not left the bloc, it has emerged.
The move came months after the row over the government’s decision to remove the words “European Union” from British passports.
Thanks to PeterA for the link
COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found in an earlier post
Travel latest: requirements for entering and leaving Madeira: is kept up-to-date on a previous post
New restrictions: a detailed updated explanation of the latest regulations can be found here