Wednesday, May 25

EU Commission reveals plans for travel tax on British citizens after Brexit



The US-style visa waiver scheme is one of the first concrete signs UK citizens will not be permitted the privileges they once had to move across European borders unhindered.

The EU Commission said the system of security checks is necessary to prevent terrorist entering the Schengen open-borders area, but UK Brexit critics warned it is further evidence of the hidden cost of quitting the Union.

Under the Etias system, countries from outside the EU which do not require a full visa to travel to the bloc, will now pay a five euro (£4.29) fee and complete an online form.

Sir Julian King, the EU’s Security Commissioner, said: “Terrorists and criminals don’t care much for national borders. The only way to defeat them is by working together effectively.

“Etias will help do that, by spotting problem individuals and stopping them from coming, we’ll enhance Europe’s internal security.”

The automated system cross-checks travellers against visa, criminal and stolen document databases.

The European Commission says filling out the form should take less than 10 minutes and the Etias permit will be valid for five years and multiple trips.

But Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, a supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said Brits travelling to the continent for holidays will be dismayed at having to pay for something they are used to getting for free.

He said: “Nobody voted for more expensive holidays and an exemption for British travellers to Europe should be something we can negotiate.

“This is yet more evidence of the hidden cost of Brexit.”

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said: “This would mean a travel tax and extra paperwork for holidays to Europe, adding to the impact of the falling pound.

“Amber Rudd must clarify how she will ensure British families can continue to enjoy free and easy travel to the EU.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said: “These are proposals that have come forward today and we will need to consider them and study them in detail.”

Home Secretary Ms Rudd will discuss the proposals at a meeting with her European counterparts on Friday.