End of September driving license negotiations update

by Lorraine Williamson
driving license negotiations

Yesterday, Hugh Elliott, British Ambassador for Spain and Andorra took to social media to give a personal update regarding the driving license exchange negotiations.

In a rather shaky “selfie” style video, Elliott acknowledged the serious impact not being able to drive was having on some people. He advised that the Department for Transport in the UK and the Spanish Interior Ministry have been leading the driving license negotiations with input from the respective foreign ministries. Elliott then pointed out that as the governement representative here in Spain, he fully understood the frustrations. Thus, removing himself from the finger of blame!

Unforseen issues

Previously, Elliott had stated he thought an agreement would be reached before the end of July. However, in yesterday´s statement, he acknowledged that due to some unforeseen issues this was impossible to achieve in the end. He went on to say that although very complex, the issues are being dealt with one by one. And now only a couple remain outstanding.

At the beginning of August, Minister Karl McCartney, the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport made the official statement. However, some of his points were unclear or unsure, therefore the statement had the following added.  

“Updated version is to make clear that the Agreement is finalised and we are now working on the annexes”. By mid-August, the update mentioned they were continuing to work with the Spanish Government to settle the SMALL number of outstanding points in the annexes. Are the “annexes”, the “issues” that Elliott refers to?

Driving license negotiations ongoing

As with every official statement, the Ambassador reiterated that reaching an agreement remains a priority, and they are working on the negotiations every day behind the scenes.

Cogesa Expats

Elliott then explained why it is not possible to drive while the negotiations are ongoing. This is one of the main questions being asked by those affected. He, therefore, confirmed it was not a decision that was down to the UK government to make. Even though many requests have been made to the Spanish government, they have been rejected.

Optimistic and hopeful

Towards the end of Elliott´s address, he used some less convincing language when he said;

I remain very optimistic that we will reach an agreement, and hope that it will be soon.

Does this mean he is not certain an agreement will be reached? Was it not stated at the beginning of August that “the Agreement is finalised”?

Take the Spanish test

Then, as has been the advice for some time, the Ambassador emphasised, that for those who need to drive, they should take the Spanish test. Sound advice perhaps as the weeks, and now months continue to drag on. However, he did acknowledge that this may be difficult to do.

Driving license negotiations continue behind the scenes

So, in summary, on the surface, it appears nothing whatsoever has changed over the last few months. However, as stated, there is a lot going on behind the scenes which unfortunately, none of us are privy to that information. As such, InSpain.News will endeavour to keep you updated when possible.

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