The European Commission is creating programs that could imply British citizens require a visa to enter the EU after Brexit, according to a document seen by POLITICO which was presented to MEPs.
The proposal is among a record of amendments to regulations and laws in a record entitled”Pending and planned legislative proposals for the aims of Brexit preparedness” that was introduced by the Commission’s strong Secretary-General, Martin Selmayr, to MEPs on the Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group in Strasbourg on Tuesday of last week.
Whether it comes in to force, or an alternative that would exempt U.K. citizens from visa requirements, will depend on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. However, Selmayr told MEPs that the legislative changes, in eight different policy areas, are needed for the EU27 to prevent disruption in the aftermath of this U.K. departing the bloc. That could happen suddenly in March 2019 in a chaotic no-deal situation or at January 2021 after the transition period that’s been already been agreed in principle by negotiators.
On visas, the text proposes an alteration to a Commission regulation on the EU’s visa policy for third countries to”place the U.K. on the visa required list of third countries or the’visa free’ list.” An EU law is a binding legislative act that has to be implemented in its entirety across the EU.
Until the withdrawal date and during the transition phase, the current immigration agreements for British nationals will last, meaning they will not need a visa to enter another EU country and can continue to travel freely within the EU with their passport. But following the transition, the problem of U.K. nationals travel to Europe remains unclear.
Brexit-supporting Conservative MP David Jones, a former minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, stated that requiring U.K. citizens to produce visas would be”extraordinary.”
“Many third countries enjoy visa-free access into the EU and given the U.K.’s historical connections, an individual would not expect the EU to adopt such an apparently perverse position,” he explained.
Whether the change requiring visas for U.K. travelers is triggered will depend on the results of the Brexit discussions in Brussels about the future relationship between U.K. and the EU. But Selmayr’s document proves that the EU is making plans for a reintroduction of visas for U.K. taxpayers. In practice, that would mean adding”United Kingdom” between Uganda and Uzbekistan about the 2001 visa law that sets a listing of states who are subject to visa demand.
On the other hand, the EU could also pick that U.K nationals should be exempt from visa requirement”for stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period.”
An EU official with all the Brexit discussions told POLITICO the Commission’s visa proposal would need to be agreed by the 2 co-legislators, the Parliament and the Council.
The proposal is different to some new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias), that is very likely to come into force in 2020 and will impose”a travel authorisation fee of 7″ on travelers from visa-exempt third countries.
The Selmayr record also includes proposals to”designing a new marine route to link Ireland together with the continental portion of the North Sea-Mediterranean corridor” to facilitate trade between Ireland and the rest of the EU27. Additionally, it proposes legislative changes on standards for”ship inspection and survey organisations” and adjustments to 2030 energy efficiency goals in the absence of the U.K.
It also lays out ideas connected to Brexit that have already been adopted, like the apportionment of tariff rate quotas between the EU27 along with the U.K., and the European Medicines Agency’s move from London to Amsterdam.
The Commission’s Brexit Preparedness Group, which is made up of 12 civil servants, functions directly under Selmayr’s authority and is tasked with drafting notices to stakeholders”about the legal and practical implications of the withdrawal of the uk in the European Union pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.” An EU diplomat said some major European firms also consult with the group to elaborate their own preparedness plans.