EU Parliament approve ‘no-deal Brexit’ visa waiver for UK citizens

392
visa waiver for UK citizens
EU Parliament approve 'no-deal Brexit' visa waiver for UK citizens

The European Parliament on Thursday approved a law allowing Britons visa-free travel to the bloc even in the event of a “no deal” Brexit, despite outrage in some quarters over the status of Gibraltar.

Britain is due to leave the European Union, perhaps as early as next week, but the law will allow British visitors 90-day trips to the Schengen passport-free zone.

Implementation will depend on Britain according EU citizens reciprocal rights, but it has said it will do so and the principle of the law has broad support.

The bill passed by EU lawmakers triggered a bitter row in Brussels, after member states — at Spain’s urging — referred to in a footnote of the draft to Gibraltar as a “colony of the British crown”.

The United Nations does legally list Gibraltar as a “non-self-governing territory”, but Britain insists it is part of “the UK family” and that its citizens freely voted to remain British.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU has revived controversy over Spain’s long-standing claim on the territory, against the backdrop of Spanish elections.

“If the EU plans to continually take Spain’s side on Gibraltar, against the will of the people of the Rock, then it could poison the future trade talks before they have even begun,” said Daniel Dalton, a British Conservative MEP.

“It would also fatally undermine Europe’s standing as a union which defends democracy and human rights across the world,” he added.

Tension

Esteban Gonzalez Pons, a leading Spanish MEP, seized upon the law as a diplomatic victory for Madrid.

“Spain has obtained fundamental support from the European institutions in the dispute over Gibraltar by considering this territory a colony,” he argued.

“The mention of Gibraltar as a colony will be fundamental in attempting to resolve the dispute over this territory in a post-Brexit scenario,” the MEP added.

The chief minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, has denounced the text as “disgraceful”, noting the law would not even be needed if Britain approves a Brexit withdrawal agreement.

“In this case it is obvious that extreme pressure exerted by Spain and the bullying tactics of Spanish MEPs, on purely nationalistic grounds,” he complained.

Brexit itself will not change the status of Gibraltar, but Madrid has been keen to establish that it will retain a veto over any future agreement between Britain and the EU that touches on the territory.

Support Labour Heartlands

This is a "Pay as You Feel" website. You can have access to all of our online work for free. However if you want to support what we do, you could make a small donation to help us keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

HELP US GROW BY SUPPORTING US

HELP US GROW.

The future can be ours - but only if we work together to make it happen. We've been fighting to make the Labour Heartlands a better, more fairer and equal place for over two years now. With a dedicated team and the commitment from our generous supporters giving small regular donations each month, more if they can afford it, we're winning. But there is still so much to do. We're ambitious, but we can only continue to make positive change and shape our country if more of our supporters join us on this journey. If you believe in the issues we fight for please take action and join Labour Heartlands grassroots think-and-do-tank today. It will make all the difference. And then we can make all the difference for everyone.

Not funded by millionaires or advertisers.
Labour Heartlands funded by the people.