Monday

25th Mar 2019

The reality behind the €7 'Brexit bombshell visa'

  • Eurostar train at Paris Nord station (Photo: Kai Hendry)

British tabloids roared in disapproval on Thursday (26 April), after EU diplomats advanced plans for new border checks and fees.

"EU must be joking!" the Daily Mail, the headline of one top-selling newspaper said. "BREXIT BOMBSHELL: Britons could be forced to pay €7 for European visa after EU split," the Daily Express, another anti-EU paper, said.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Visitor applications to be cross-checked in crime databases of 26 Schengen countries (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

The reference to a "European visa" was misleading, but the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias), agreed on Wednesday, will impose "a travel authorisation fee of €7" on all "visa-exempt third country nationals" when it enters into life.

Etias, which is modelled on the US visa-waiver system, is designed to increase border security in times of mass migration and a heightened terrorist threat.

Visitors to the EU, including from the US, will have to file an online application, which will be cross-checked against EU states' crime databases and those of Interpol, the international police agency.

Most will get a travel permit "automatically and quickly" and the €7 fee will keep them covered for three years.

But if the databases scored a "hit", or if there were "doubts" or "elements requiring further analysis" they would be told, within 96 hours, that they had been denied entry into Europe's so-called Schengen travel zone, which includes 26 countries.

That was the deal agreed by EU member states' ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday.

It is likely to enter into force by 2020 after MEPs and member states add final touches.

"We will be better able to stop those who may pose a threat to our citizens," Valentin Radev, the interior minister of Bulgaria, which holds the EU presidency, said on Wednesday.

"We need to know who is crossing our borders," the European Commission, which first proposed the scheme, said.

It said Etias was needed not just for security reasons, but also to reduce "migration risks of travellers benefiting from visa-free access to the Schengen area".

The British tabloids roared because the UK will become a "visa-exempt third country" when it exits the EU next year, falling under Etias, unless it negotiates an exemption.

Border problems already lie at the heart of Brexit talks, amid questions on how to keep free movement between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland when the UK leaves.

The Daily Mail promoted the idea of one British MP that the UK should impose a £10 (€11) on EU travellers in return for Etias to raise an extra £150m a year for the British treasury.

The British papers said the Schengen fee would raise money for the EU budget, but that was also partly misleading.

The Etias scheme is to cost €200m to launch and around €85m a year to run, the EU said.

There were 39m visitors to the EU last year. If each one paid €7, it would generate €273m in revenues, helping to cover Etias costs, but the figure would diminish in subsequent years due to the three-year duration of the travel permits.

Opinion

No precedents for post-Brexit Irish border

Glib comparisons with the US-Canada border, or municipal boundaries within London, do not stand up to scrutiny - or the reality of an internal Irish border with 275 crossing points in a land beset by 30 years of armed conflict.

Analysis

Commission wants bigger post-Brexit budget

The Commission wants the next EU budget to prove the bloc has survived Brexit unscathed. However, some net payers disagree. The EU executive plans to put out an overall budget figure of 1.13 to 1.18 percent of EU GNI.

EU tells UK to stop with Brexit 'fantasies'

After the latest round of Brexit talks, a senior EU official sounded the alarm bell: progress on the key Irish border issue remains elusive, while the London government is chasing pipe dreams.

News in Brief

  1. Orban vows more EU 'information campaigns'
  2. May 'effectively out of power', says Scottish leader
  3. May under pressure to resign over Brexit endgame
  4. Million march against Brexit, five million sign petition
  5. Italy first G7 country to sign China Belt and Road deal
  6. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  7. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  8. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  2. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  3. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  4. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  5. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  6. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  7. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  8. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us