The European Union on Tuesday published further contingency plans for a “no-deal” Brexit, piling pressure Prime Minister Theresa May by warning that Britons will lose a host of travel rights from recognition of driving licences to lower credit card fees and no mobile roaming charges.
The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, said that, while it is working hard for a deal, it must prepare for “all outcomes” and “contingency measures in narrowly defined areas” may be needed to protect the EU’s interests.
If a deal is agreed then the arrangements could still be applied at the end of any agreed transition period – which under the current withdrawal agreement would be January 1st 2021.
In one measure, Brussels said it will offer visa-free travel within the bloc to Britons on short trips, but warned this was “entirely conditional on the UK also granting reciprocal and non-discriminatory visa-free travel to EU citizens travelling to the UK”.
“UK nationals would be exempt from any visa requirement for visits of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This is entirely conditional on the UK also granting reciprocal and non-discriminatory visa-free travel to EU citizens travelling to the UK.”
Frans Timmermans, the vice-president of the European Commission, said: “We will do upon you what you do upon us.”
However the Commission notes that “the UK government has already declared its intention not to require a visa from citizens of the EU27 Member States for shorts trips to Britain;
The EU says its visa proposal demonstrates its “commitment to putting citizens first in the negotiations with the UK”.
The proposal now needs to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.
The Commission published a nine-point advice notice to travellers between the UK and EU about what will happen if Britain crashes out without a deal. It spells out the rights Britons coming to the bloc will no longer enjoy if there is no agreement between London and Brussels.
British driving licences will no longer be recognised automatically by EU countries, leaving UK drivers to check with each country they travel in whether they will need an extra “international driving permit”, the notice says.
At airports, UK nationals will no longer be able to use the priority EU passport queue and will be subject to extra questions about the purpose and length of their visit.
When it comes to health a no-deal would mean Brits would not be able to use the European Health Health cards (EHIC) to access treatments.
The warnings of what will happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit echo those already given by the British government earlier this year.