'Love Island's Georgia is right: Brexit will make it harder for Brits to travel'
PUBLISHED: 16:06 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:06 21 June 2018
The European Commission is making plans which could see British citizens requiring a visa to enter the EU after Brexit, it has emerged.
A document titled 'Pending and planned legislative proposals for the purposes of Brexit preparedness', seen by the website Politico, has reportedly been presented to MEPs.
The site said it was presented by the Commission’s secretary-general Martin Selmayr, to MEPs on the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group in Strasbourg last week.
On visas, the document proposes a change to a Commission regulation on the visa policy for third countries - those outside the EU - to “place the UK on either the visa required list of third countries or the ‘visa free’ list.”
Whether such a move went forward, or if the UK were to be exempt from visa regulations, will depend on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations currently taking place in Brussels.
But Mr Selmayr apparently told MEPs that the changes were needed for the EU's remaining 27 to avoid disruption in the aftermath of the UK crashing out of the bloc.
Labour MEP Gareth Thomas, a champion of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said: "Love Island's Georgia is right: Brexit will make it harder for Brits to travel.
"Getting to Spain is really easy right now, but come next year it'll be a real hassle. Wasn't Brexit supposed to be about cutting down on bureaucracy?
"I know we Brits take pride in queueing, but having to apply for visas and longer waiting times at airports was not what anyone voted for. We need a people's vote to put an end to this car-crash Brexit."
Georgia Steel, a contestant on the ITV2 reality TV show, made headlines when she quizzed fellow romance-seekers on the show, asking: "Does it mean it would be harder to go to Spain and stuff?".
Fellow contestant Hayley Hughes said: "So it's harder to go on holiday. I love my holidays."
More seriously, until the withdrawal date and during the transition phase, the current arrangements for British nationals will continue, meaning Brits can travel freely across the EU like anybody else.
But following transition it is still unclear what the situation will be for British passport holders.
Hardline Brexiteer and former Brexit minister David Jones said that requiring UK citizens to produce visas would be “extraordinary.”
He said: “Many third countries enjoy visa-free access to the EU and given the UK’s historical links, one would not expect the EU to adopt such an apparently perverse position."
Another option for the Commission would be for UK nationals to be exempt from visa requirement “for stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period.”
Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Parliament’s negotiator, has said that exempting Brits from needing visas would be linked to the wider deal reached on security and trade.
He said: “All third country nationals have to face visa requirements unless there’s an exemption.
“Such an exemption will need to be at least commensurate with the degree of cooperation... and naturally based on the principle of reciprocity.”