News & Features

Disabled people locked out of Europe

Posted in General News on Thursday, August 4th, 2022

Following Brexit it has been brought to DMUK’s attention that the reciprocal agreement for using a Blue Badge which used to exist between the UK and the rest of Europe is in jeopardy.

Before Brexit UK Blue Badge holders could use their Blue Badge in the rest of the EU so long as they obeyed local disabled parking rules. This was a lifeline to many disabled people and meant that they could travel in the EU without fear that they could park close to facilities and services when in the EU. Many disabled people like to travel using their own vehicle as it is a reliable form of transport which suits their access needs. We see a lot of disabled people use their own vehicle to travel on the continent and prior to Brexit they were often full of praise of how our European neighbours enforced disabled parking and usually said they found fewer bays abused by non-badge holders compared with the UK.

Now, many EU members still recognise UK Blue Badges following Brexit. These countries include Germany, Ireland, Malta and many more. However, many including France, Spain and Greece are ‘undecided’. (The up-to-date list of specific countries can be found at,disabilities%20in%20the%20European%20Union)

What does ‘undecided’ mean?

On the government website it lists all EU member states and whether a UK Blue Badge is recognised in that specific country. For the countries that state ‘undecided’ it tells you to contact that country’s embassy. DMUK has done this for France. We contacted both the French embassy in the UK and the UK embassy in France. Each embassy just referred us back to the other without a proper answer on using a UK Blue Badge in France. We still don’t know what ‘undecided’ means – can you use a UK Blue Badge until they make a decision, or can you not use a UK Blue Badge until they make a decision?

When trying to help disabled travellers we are left at a loss of what to advise them. Our best advice is to check locally to the specific area they are travelling to. This is not easy and often can’t be done before travelling, which causes disabled people so much anxiety that they choose to simply not travel. A huge blow to independent living.

Heidi Turner, DMUK Campaigns and Communications Director, said: “Disappointed is not a strong enough word, we are appalled by all European governments involved. This should be a no-brainer reciprocal agreement that will benefit EU citizens when visiting the UK too. DMUK urges the UK government to talk to their counterparts in Europe to make a decision to accept UK Blue Badges. This is another example of disabled people falling far down the priority list. When we have investigated this nobody can give us a definitive answer on Blue Badge acceptance. This leaves disabled holiday makers in a precarious situation on whether they risk using their Blue Badge in countries that can’t make up their mind to accept UK Blue Badges.”

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Richard Pemberton's Gravatar
Richard Pemberton

Friday, August, 5th, 2022

So long as its reciprical here in UK. That is where we are going wrong, we allow, they as in EU dont on many things.

Alan Taylor's Gravatar
Alan Taylor

Sunday, August, 7th, 2022

Surprise, surprise France is undecided!!

Andy Grey Rider's Gravatar
Andy Grey Rider

Friday, August, 12th, 2022

Since Brexit and now Covid, unable to fly in my wheelchair, having it constantly damaged in the cargo hold, we have curtailed our plans to ever visit Europe again. I need a toilet too often and cannot endure crowds. England has many places that meet our needs so, it's a no-brainer. We are on our second stay at a lovely place near Lancaster and the hosts have accommodated our every need, which isn't much really. You'll be surprised how many hotel chains cannot accomplish the basics for disabilities. The reviews with buzz words are lies. Nowhere but home is a five star review. £10 for a BB, humiliation in DWP interviews and medical reviews. Yet, still we are abused by those more disabled in their thinking than us! Nothing surprises us.

Chris Kay's Gravatar
Chris Kay

Sunday, August, 14th, 2022

Let’s face it we can rarely park near to facilities and services in the UK no matter anywhere else due to anti car local councils. I used to go abroad on holiday at least twice a year before being disabled and don’t have the slightest bit of confidence doing so now, oh, and this includes going into town centres here in the UK with many, many more in town roads having kerb bars on them. I’ve been disabled now for 14 years and with every year that goes by my Blue Badge seems to become less of a help and is only really helpful these days parking in supermarkets if the spaces aren't already occupied by non disabled, non displaying BB cars.

john Walsh's Gravatar
john Walsh

Sunday, August, 14th, 2022

If blue badges were accepted whilst in the EU and a country becomes undecided after our leaving as to whether or not they wish to continue with that regulation, I would have thought that common sense would prevail and that the blue badge would still be accepted UNTIL SUCH TIME THAT THE EXISTING REGULATION IS REVOKED.......simples! The EU don't like going from A - B in a straight line, they always go via Z. Keeps the 'boys' in jobs!