EU approves visa-free travel for Britons in no-deal Brexit but sparks diplomatic scuffle over Gibraltar
Downing Street has welcomed EU plans to let UK citizens travel to the continent without a visa even in the case of a no-deal Brexit, but contested a description of Gibraltar as a British “colony” made in the same announcement.
EU ambassadors agreed today Britons travelling within the the Schengen area of 26 EU member states should be given visa-free travel for 90 days in any 180 days.
Read more: European Commission offers Brits visa-free travel to EU countries in no-deal Brexit
The European Parliament will get the final decision over whether to pass the measure into legislation, but is likely to approve given it has already stated its support for the plan.
The government came out in support of the decision today, but objected to a description of Gibraltar as a British colony. Gibraltar is classed a British Overseas Territory, currently part of the EU.
Diplomats said the British ambassador to the EU raised London’s objections to this in a meeting of EU envoys. Reuters reported a government spokeswoman said: “Gibraltar is not a colony and it is completely inappropriate to describe in this way.”
Previous reports have suggested Brits travelling to the EU after Brexit would face a €7 (£6.30) fee to holiday abroad without a visa beyond 2021, when Britain’s two-year transition period with the EU ends and the UK officially leaves the EU.
Read more: Brits face paying for a visa waiver to travel to the EU after Brexit
The announcement follows news that EU citizens will no longer be hit by a £65 charge to register to stay in the UK after Brexit.
Speaking in the Commons earlier this month, Prime Minister Theresa May announced the fee will be waived after lobbying by parliamentarians from across the Commons during talks over Brexit.