A green card is an internationally recognised document issued which demonstrates to law enforcement agencies that valid motor insurance is in place. They typically last for up to 90 days. Drivers had been told that they would need to apply for one before trips to the EU in their own vehicle.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, UK residents made an estimated 12.6m visits a year to EU countries via seaports and the Channel tunnel.
Motorists travelling this month will not be freed of the obligation, as the rule change will only come into effect 20 days after it is published in the Official Journal, a step which should take place in the next few days.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) described the decision as excellent news for drivers. Its director general, Huw Evans, said the commission had taken a “pragmatic approach on the matter”.
“UK drivers will no longer need to apply for a green card through their insurer which will help reduce bureaucracy for drivers and road hauliers travelling between the UK and EU,” he said. “It will be especially welcomed by motorists in Northern Ireland driving across the border.”
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) had lobbied hard against the cards, pointing to the 43m cross-border trips that took place each year on the island.
Its chief executive, David Fitzgerald, said it had been in regular talks with EU officials to highlight the problem caused by the cards. “This wasn’t a sustainable situation when you consider there are an estimated 43m cross border vehicle trips per annum and there are approximately 25,000 people who live on one side of the border and who regularly commute to the other jurisdiction.