Brussels Wants To Force Brits To Apply For Visas To Visit Europe

British Passport Immigration Border Control

Brits may need to apply for visas and pay in advance before travelling to the European Union (EU) under plans being drawn up by the European Commission.

The Commission, led by committed federalist Jean-Claude Juncker, has been taking a hairline, punitive approach to Brexit, banning some talks and appointing anti-British hawks to key negotiating position.

They are due to unveil draft legislation for the EU travel information and authorisation system (Etias) later this year, the Guardian reports. The scheme covers visitors to the Schengen free movement zone from countries that do not need a visa to enter.

Camino Mortera-Martinez, a research fellow specialising in justice and home affairs at the Centre for European Reform, quoted in the newspaper, said: “In theory UK citizens, as third-country nationals, would certainly be subject to the obligations (of such a scheme).”

“This will have to be part of the Brexit talks. It will all have to be negotiated”, she added.

Both France and Germany are said to back a system based on the American ESTA scheme, whereby people from countries not requiring full visas must apply online for permission to travel, at a cost of $10.

Steve Peers, a professor of EU law at the University of Essex, said he could envisage British holidaymakers having to apply online through a future EU electronic visa waiver scheme before travelling to Spain or France, for example.

“It’s going to annoy a lot of people,” he said. “We can ask for full free movement, but any arrangement is going to have to be reciprocal, so you have to ask what Nigel Farage and the others will accept. We have no idea what the rules will be.”

British residents made more than 30m holiday trips to EU countries last year, according to the Office for National Statistics, with Spain and France the most popular destinations.