Straight talking from the Editor;
In a year when many discovered Zoom, and millions of us went digital on GP appointments, job interviews and much else, the notion that drivers should carry a PAPER Green Card from January 1st 2021 is ridiculous. Politicians will trot out the usual excuses about the logistical headache and lack of time to `roll out a new system’ of course, but this is utter BS. They’ve had four years to sort this out, regardless of Brexit.
Fact is, we can renew passports online, not post in a photo signed on the back by a prominent local accountant. Millions of us bank online, we use PayPal, Apple Pay or other services to pay via smartphone. Digital ID works. It’s 2021, not 1981.
You can file tax online and mostly, it works – you even get an email as proff you have paid your tax. That’s a system that is used by about 10 million people in the UK, sometimes twice, or three times a year.
And yet you’re telling me that it’s not possible to download a digital Green Card, timestamped by your insurer as part of the policy documents emailed at the point of sale? Bizarre.
The UK government should have taken the lead years ago and issued digital Green Cards of course, then the blame could be squarely laid at the door of Von Der Smirken and all her Brussels chums. For all its pontificating on green issues and saving the planet, the EU loves to create rules, and demand that paperwork must be carred around as if we are still lving in East Germany circa 1987. For example in many EU states you need a certificate that says you have no criminal record to get a job – paper only, no digital proof accepted.
If you want an ID card in many EU countries, then you need a contract of residence, signed in black ink, on paper of course. In Italy for example, you can apply for an electronic ID card, which if you’re Italian you can use to move around the EU. But if you’re not Italian then the same electronic ID card is NOT valid in other EU states. On the upside if you have a driving licence issued by an EU state, then that remains valid until it expires in a fellow EU state. So you’re OK to drive, but not to actually exist because you need an ID card to get access to benefits, medical care or housing.
Confused? Of course you are.
The Green Card system is another of those hangover bits of paperwork from a pre-Schengen era when people needed all sorts of paperwork to travel. But those days are gone. You check-in online with airlines, your passport is scanned electronically at the Gate. Prediction for 2021? Drivers will forget to download and print their Green Cards, some paperwork will be lost, or the printing won’t be hi-res enough for the local Gendarme at the roadside.
Covid restrictions will make a road trip to France miserable enough next year without the Green Card nonsense on top. It is another example of politicians failing to do the simplest of jobs and modernise a regulation that belongs in the dustbin of history. Unsurprising, but entirely predictable.