Marco Campomenosi (ID, IT), Antonio Maria Rinaldi (ID, IT), Anna Bonfrisco (ID, IT) - Travelling with assistance dogs after Brexit: the forgotten discrimination (2022-09-15)

Marco Campomenosi (ID, IT), Antonio Maria Rinaldi (ID, IT), Anna Bonfrisco (ID, IT) - Travelling with assistance dogs after Brexit: the forgotten discrimination (2022-09-15)

From 1 January 2021, England, Scotland and Wales became a Part 2 listed country for pet travel to Europe, with an animal health certificate (AHC) replacing the European pet passport. This requires anyone wishing to travel from the UK to Europe to obtain an AHC, which has led to significant unintended consequences for assistance dog users.

Previously, the pet passport lasted for the dog’s lifetime and allowed free travel for the animal into and out of the EU. Regrettably however, the new AHC is required for each and every trip from the UK to Europe, can only be obtained within 10 days of departure and costs a substantial amount (approximately EUR 200).

Assistance dog owners who live in Britain need to meet additional criteria, which highlights the inequalities they face compared with other travellers.

For most people, travelling with a dog is a choice; for a person with disabilities who fully relies on their assistance dog, it is essential. The new rules embed discrimination and breach the conditions of the UN CRPD[1], which has been ratified by the EU and its Member States.

1.Will the Commission restore Great Britain to Part 1 listed status under the pet passport scheme?

2.Will it put forward a free service to help disabled people navigate the procedure for obtaining an AHC?

[1] UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

A: Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission

The Commission would like to inform the Honourable Members that currently, the United Kingdom (UK)[1] does not comply with the conditions required to be listed under the pet passport scheme in Part 1 of Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 577/2013[2].

In such instances, the general rules laid down in Regulation (EU) No 576/2013[3] for non-commercial movements of dogs into the EU from a non-EU country must apply and pet dogs must be accompanied by an animal health certificate. The costs for such certification are not of EU competence but regulated at country level, meaning set up by the third country of origin of animals, in this case the UK.

The Commission would nevertheless like to bring to the attention of the Honourable Members that assistance dogs can benefit from the derogation provided for in Article 32 of Regulation (EU) No 576/2013, by virtue of which they can be subject to special permit arrangements and conditions, established by the competent authority of the Member State of destination.

The specific arrangements and conditions provided in the permit are developed on a case-by-case basis to adapt as closely as possible to the situation in question and to the needs of the applicants. Member States provide on their Internet webpages dealing with the movements of pet animals, the necessary information (e.g. contact points) to help the applicants in the procedure.

[1] In accordance with the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, and in particular Article 5(4) of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in conjunction with Annex 2 to that Protocol, references to the United Kingdom do not include Northern Ireland.