British motorists travelling to EU countries could face difficulties following Brexit, after European Commission documents highlighted the UK’s departure from the European Union could see an end to the “mutual recognition” of UK driving licences.

Documents from a recent EU Commission meeting, while flagged as being “for presentational and information processes only”, consider that “all current EU law-based rights, obligations and benefits cease” if the UK becomes a non-EU nation.

That loss of rights would see an end to the “mutual recognition” of “driving licences, vehicle registration documents and certificates of professional competence” for UK drivers in EU countries.

One alternative suggested by the EU Commission’s documentation is for UK drivers to rely on the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. That allows holders of an IDP (International Driving Permit) to drive in nations that signed up to the Convention. An IDP currently costs £5.50, is valid for 12 months, and is obtainable from selected Post Office branches and motoring organisations. However, the report warns that Germany and four other EU countries are not signed up to the 1949 Convention.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “Our aim is to reach an agreement with the EU for mutual licence recognition after Brexit. Such a deal is in the interests of both sides and we remain confident of reaching such an agreement.

“However, it is only sensible that we put contingency measures in place for all scenarios. Ratifying the Vienna Convention will guarantee that UK driving licences will be acceptable throughout the EU when held with the relevant supporting International Driving Permit.”

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