Although the directive comes into force today, goody-two-shoes Britain has already done it, and gone further than the directive. Our government requires us to renew every ten years, instead of the fifteen that the EU wants. And, contrary, to this report, we do see minimum requirements for driving tests in the Directive, now labelled 2006/126/EC.
According to the report, people with licences for life must trade them in for a new licence by 2033. Belgium, France and Cyprus are still issuing paper licences at this time and will not be compliant with the directive by tomorrow, the Commission said. France said it will be compliant within six months, but it is not known when Belgium will be compliant.
But the main event is that, by this means, drivers are forced to apply for a document with the ring of stars emblazoned on it. The excuse for this, according to Siim Kallas, EU commissioner for transport, is that: "Traffic police across Europe are currently expected to recognise more than 100 different types of paper and plastic driving licence".
Of course, even if there was an excuse for a "little Europe" license, there is no need for the ring of stars. Strangely, there is an EEA version (see page 253), which Norway uses. And although it is standard EU format, so that the poor little europlods can recognise it, it doesn't have the dreaded EU symbol.
All that goes to prove what we already know – that the EU is trying to impose a cultural identity on us. And it also provides another very good reason why we should decouple from the EU. Standardisation – to an extent – we don't mind. But we can do without the baggage.