EU Policy. Right-wing alliance derails obligatory check-up plans for driving licence renewal

Medical checks for the renewal of driving permits are already compulsory in various forms in 14 member states.
Medical checks for the renewal of driving permits are already compulsory in various forms in 14 member states. Copyright Ellen O'nan/AP
Copyright Ellen O'nan/AP
By Gerardo Fortuna
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Conservative and centre-right lawmakers teamed up against an attempt to make health checks mandatory for the renewal of driving permits across the EU.


A proposal to introduce obligatory medical check-ups for drivers to get their driving licence renewed was put forward in a report by the rapporteur Karima Delli (France, Greens) and backed by socialists and liberals in a Parliament committee vote last December.

The amendment aimed to extend to the whole bloc a requirement that is already compulsory in various forms in 14 member states.

However, MEPs rejected the proposed measure in a plenary vote on Wednesday (28 February) opting to maintain the original commission text leaving decisions on whether licence holders seeking renewal should undergo tests up to member states.

Under the commission’s original proposal, national authorities may also allow drivers to self-assess their fitness to remain behind the wheel.

However, the concept of self-assessment is “open to interpretation at the moment”, a parliament source close to the matter told Euronews, as the EU executive is expected to revisit the issue in secondary legislation at a later date.

Roughly 20,000 people died on the bloc’s roads in 2021, according to the EU’s statistical service Eurostat, while more than 170,000 citizens were injured.

Pauline Déroulède, a paralympic athlete and road accident victim who backed the proposal, did not hide her disappointment after the vote, claiming it had lost favour in the context of imminent European elections.

“I thought road safety was one of the few subjects where people put their personal and political interests aside. But I was definitely wrong,” she said.

“There are political games that come into play that go beyond us, that even go beyond the issue we're talking about. And that's a shame,” she added.

Rapporteur Dalli said that she’s never experienced similar attacks on a file in fifteen years as an MEP. “As soon as this report appeared, political groups went on a crusade against it with fake news and fallacious arguments,” she said, pointing the finger at the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and far-right groups in the Parliament.

MEPs are now ready to negotiate with EU ministers on a final set of amendments to the commission’s text but talks will not start before the next mandate, a parliament source told Euronews.

The Parliament is now ready to negotiate with EU ministers who already backed their position but this won’t happen before the next year.

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