Members of the ‘Invade British Embassy’ Facebook group meet the ambassador to discuss the driving license debacle

REPRESENTATIVES of a Facebook group which brings together victims of Spain’s driving license debacle traveled to Madrid today for a meeting at the British Embassy.

“We had a constructive meeting and felt heard,” the reps told The Olive Press after the meeting. “We have covered who is affected, financial impacts, health and wellbeing impacts, driving test challenges, policing and costs. We questioned the timing and legality of the ban.

“The Ambassador will provide an update on Thursday or Friday acknowledging the meeting and the points raised,” they added. “He reiterated his previous update in that he sincerely believes they are nearing the end of negotiations.”

The Facebook group, titled ‘Invasion of the British Embassy in Madrid’, was originally created by Pascal Siegmund with the aim of organizing protests at the diplomatic mission in the Spanish capital. It was also planned to demonstrate in the local traffic services of the Spanish provinces for those who could not get to Madrid.

Within the group, however, it was agreed that these demonstrations would be suspended until Siegmund held his meeting at the embassy.

Pascal was accompanied to the meeting by Roger Jenkins, originally from Wales and coming from Malaga, Theo Laverty, originally from Northern Ireland and living in Madrid, and Jokin Mena Salsamendi, originally from San Sebastián, in the Spanish Basque Country.

Left to right: Theo Laverty, Pascal Siegmund, Roger Jenkins and Jokin Mena Salsamendi at the British Embassy in Madrid on Tuesday.

Ambassador Hugh Elliott said: “We had a productive meeting with the group and it was valuable to be reminded again of how the inability to drive affects people and to hear the personal stories of their members.

“I want to thank them for taking the time to meet with us and for the thoughtful way in which they brought their issues to our attention. I do not underestimate the impact this has on people and we are doing all we can to support the ongoing negotiations between the DfT and the Spanish Ministry of Interior

“We understand how difficult this situation is for people and, as we explained to the group, we have consistently asked Spain to reintroduce the interim measures that would allow those affected to drive while negotiations continue. , but it was not granted.

“As we said from the outset, negotiations are complex and time-consuming. We continue to make progress and encourage UK licensees to stay informed on our Brits in Spain Facebook page.

Spanish residents who still hold UK driving licenses have not been able to drive legally since May 1, while post-Brexit negotiations between the two countries continue.

Initially, the sticking point between the two parties was the exchange of vehicle information, but the fact that there is still no agreement and no information is released by either the other of the parties on the talks suggested there were other issues on the table.

Many of those affected by the situation – the Facebook group has almost 600 members – suspect that negotiations over the future post-Brexit relationship between Spain and Gibraltar are at stake.

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