The European Commission has given a stark warning of the barriers that will go up between the EU and the UK when the post-Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year, whatever the outcome of negotiations on future relations.
Britons are told that they will be “subject to thorough checks” at borders when entering EU countries (apart from Ireland) and the Schengen area, as they will be “treated as third-country nationals”.
EU pet passports will no longer be valid for people travelling with animals from the UK to the EU, and UK driving licences will not be automatically recognised but will be subject to the approval of individual countries.
The EU ban on additional mobile roaming charges will no longer be guaranteed for travellers between the UK and the continent, leaving British and EU operators free to slap on extra fees.
UK nationals will not need visas to stay in EU countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, as long as they don’t work and Britain acts likewise for EU visitors. But passengers may no longer be protected by EU consumer rights when travelling between the EU and the UK depending on the mode of transport, the Commission says.
The warnings come in a document published on Thursday, which calls for awareness of “these broad and far-reaching changes, which will arise under any scenario” (in italics in the original text).
The Commission makes it clear that the changes are the consequence of the British government’s choices on future relations, and on the decision not to extend the transition period.
Post-Brexit negotiations continued in London this week after both sides agreed to intensify talks. “Regardless of the outcome, there will be inevitable changes on 1/1/21,” tweeted the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
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