Saturday

21st Jul 2018

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.

... our 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.

Schengen at stake in Austria-Germany talks

German interior minister Horst Seehofer is in Vienna on Thursday - as his plan to reject some asylum seekers was met by an Austrian threat to close its borders too.

Schengen at stake in Austria-Germany talks

German interior minister Horst Seehofer is in Vienna on Thursday - as his plan to reject some asylum seekers was met by an Austrian threat to close its borders too.

Polish PM defends judicial witch-hunt

Poland's judicial purge was meant to punish former communists, its PM has said, in an angry EU debate that saw him ultimately promise to respect EU court rulings.

News in Brief

  1. Libyan PM rejects EU migrant camps idea
  2. Italy's Salvini to sue critical anti-mafia writer
  3. EU countries send aircraft to Sweden to help with wildfires
  4. British ex-commissioner's jobs called into question
  5. May to tell EU to drop Irish border 'backstop' idea
  6. Trump threatens EU over Google fine
  7. Spain withdraws arrest warrant for Catalan separatists
  8. EU readies counter-measures on possible US car tariffs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us