21 Oct, 2022 @ 17:54
1 min read

‘Two outstanding points’ remain on UK driving licence issue, says British ambassador

British embassy meeting

THE BRITISH ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, has posted a new update on driving licence negotiations saying that there are “two outstanding points we are working on”.

In the video message, which was shared on the Brits in Spain Facebook and UK in Spain Twitter pages, the ambassador once again thanked victims of the situation “for their patience”. 

“I know it’s frustrating to hear me say again that we are making progress, but we genuinely are, and I know it’s frustrating to hear that it’s our top priority, but it really is,” the diplomat said.

“I can only assure you that neither I nor the negotiating team take this matter lightly at all. We are completely committed to working with our Spanish colleagues to resolve this together as soon as possible. As soon as the two outstanding points we are working on have been resolved I will let you know.”

While he didn’t cite them by name, the ambassador also spoke about his meeting this week with a Facebook group titled “Invasion of the British Embassy in Madrid for the DL exchange issue,” which was set up to bring together those affected by the situation and now counts on nearly 700 members. 

“I met with representatives with a group set up to help advance the interests of those affected by the situation,” Elliott said, “to hear from them on your behalf just how much the inability to drive is really impacting those of you who have been affected.”

The ambassador thanked them for travelling to meet with embassy staff as well as “the considered and powerful way in which they brought your issues to our attention”, in particular the “impact on people’s physical and mental health”.

Four victims of the driving licence situation, led by the Facebook group administrator Pascal Siegmund, met with Elliott on Tuesday of this week. “We had a constructive meeting and we felt we were listened to,” the group told The Olive Press after their meeting. 

The group also pressed the ambassador on why there are no interim measures in place so that those affected by the situation could drive until a deal is struck. Elliott explained that this is “not in the gift of the UK government”, and added that if there were “any significant delay” from hereon in, he would ask the Spanish authorities about the issue once more.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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