Travelling in the EU after Brexit

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Algarve - a destination where no Brits would hit the local economy

Algarve – a destination where no Brits would hit the local economy

It looks as though, sometime in 2018 or 2019, the UK will have left the EU. For the millions of us that travel or holiday in other EU countries, the ability to travel freely has been accepted for some time. What might be the solution after Brexit is completed?

Between Ireland and the UK, there is the Common Travel Area, an agreement which operates separately from EU law. This allows people from both countries to freely travel between one country and the other. You still need to carry a passport or, in some cases, other photographic identity, but by and large it is free movement. This will exist after Brexit.

At present, if you travel to any EU destination be it Tenerife, Berlin or a Greek island, you show a passport and largely, that is that. Couldn’t the UK and EU negotiate a Common Travel Area between  the two geographic areas? The reasons for agreeing such an arrangement are easy to understand and will be quick to agree as the model of the arrangement between the UK and Ireland can be used and cloned.

The advantages of an arrangement are that there won’t be a requirement for additional immigration control checking procedures which will require extra staff in both areas. Secondly, each area is important to the other in terms of its economic impact.

and London, which would also be hit if EU residents stayed away

and London, which would also be hit if EU residents stayed away

Of the visitors to the UK in 2015, 73% were from Europe and contributing about £11 billion to the UK economy.  In the top ten of countries from where the UK receives its visitors, eight are in the EU. Of the 65.7 million overseas visits that UK residents made, 51.7million or 79% were to Europe. To Europe that is worth £24.2 billion. The UK is more important to Europe than vice-versa when looked at in terms of cold economic facts and for some countries like Spain, there would be a profound economic impact if UK citizens were deterred from travelling. Pragmatism rather than principle is likely to rule so some arrangement would be made and made within time limits because both sides would lose substantial revenues if there were delays. Citizens would vote with their feet and travel to places that were easier to get to.

If an arrangement couldn’t be reached in time for some reason or other, there is no reason why the UK or any of the 27 EU nations could negotiate it by themselves without EU backing. If Ireland and the UK can do whilst both being EU members surely Spain and the UK could make arrangements or any other nation. As I mentioned before, having a precedent makes it is easy in time and work to copy.

I hope  that civil servants and ministers in the Department of Culture etc have the idea of Common Travel Areas on the blocks and ready to negotiate as and when Article 50 is triggered so that travellers and holidaymakers don’t have to face a bureaucratic nightmare when Brexit occurs.

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