By Sally Underwood • 01 July 2022 • 17:59
My Blue Badge = My Freedom campaign milestone reached. Image: Pix One/Shutterstock.com
Announced on Thursday, June 16, the My Blue Badge = My Freedom campaign aims to push the UK and Spanish governments to work together to allow disabled UK tourists to be able to use their Blue Badges while on holiday in Spain.
The campaign is also pushing for a compassionate solution to help UK residents in Spain who may have left it too late to apply for their Spanish disabled badge and are now unable to park accessibly after many areas of Spain stopped recognising UK badges last year.
The EWN knows that many of those people did not apply earlier because they found the process daunting and we are pushing the Spanish and UK governments to work together to allow a grace period where residents can still use their UK badge while applying for the Spanish one.
We also know that many Brits who spend up to 90 days in Spain are also affected by the inability to use their UK badge anymore and we are seeking a political solution to this too.
One reader, Cedric Metliss from Fuengirola, got in touch with the EWN to highlight his own issues getting a disabled badge in Spain, echoing the concerns of many other readers.
He said: “As a follow up to your excellent support for Blue Badge holders from the UK using their badges here in Spain, we have experienced over many years the difficulty of obtaining a blue badge here in Spain, in spite of my wife being awarded a UK badge since before moving here in 2002.
“Following an almost fatal road accident in 2001 in the UK, my wife was issued with a Blue Badge and after settling here in Fuengirola in 2002, she looked into applying for a Spanish badge but was advised that she should wait for permanent residence before doing so.
“With the help of Fuensocial and after having her medical records expensively translated, her first application was submitted but was rejected by the Diputacion in Malaga as not being sufficiently incapacitated.
“Sadly she then had to return to the UK to care for her dying parents, but was able to renew her UK badge which expired in 2018.
“Following her return, she reapplied in 2015 but was rejected again and again in 2018 and again in 2020 despite never having had a further medical exam and with letters of support from her local doctor, lawyer and health worker. We are currently applying again as she is now virtually wheelchair bound and, at 77, I am finding it harder to get her in and out of the car where there is little space to park.
“Since Brexit the attitude of many Spanish administrators has hardened towards all Brits, even those of us who chose to make Spain our home many years ago and, like yourselves, have tried to be supportive to Spain and the EU.
“It is sad and frustrating how hard they can make it to retire and live our last years in peace and comfort.”
Please help improve the lives of many disabled UK nationals and sign our petitition today.
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Sally Underwood is a former aide to several former cabinet members and now contributes her views on Parliament’s ever-changing shape in her column for the Euro Weekly News.
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