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01st Feb 2019

EU will grant UK visa-free travel post-Brexit on the condition it’s reciprocated

The EU has agreed to allow UK citizens to travel through the Schengen area without a visa post-Brexit, on the condition that it's reciprocated

Reuben Pinder

So, remind me why we’re leaving?

UK citizens will be able to travel across the EU without a visa in the event of a no-deal Brexit, on the condition that the favour is reciprocated.

Back in November European Commission proposed giving visa-free travel to UK nationals coming to the EU for a short stay in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 29 March, so long as the UK offered the same in return.

Member states have now agreed to the proposition after a meeting between EU ambassadors.

This may come as a relief to many UK citizens who feared their travel plans could be severely disrupted by a no-deal Brexit.

But it does beg the question: why are we going ahead with it when so many people cited ending free movement as their main motivation behind leaving the EU?

In light of this, the Spanish government has insisted a footnote be added to EU legislation describing Gibraltar as a “colony” of the UK.

The UK’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, objected to it at a meeting in Brussels earlier.

A UK government spokesperson said: “The EU’s provisions for visa-free travel into and out of the [passport-free] Schengen area cover Gibraltar, and mean that in any scenario, British nationals from Gibraltar will be able to travel for short stays in and out of Spain and other countries in the Schengen area.

“Gibraltar is not a colony and it is completely inappropriate to describe it in this way.

“Gibraltar is a full part of the UK family and has a mature and modern constitutional relationship with the UK.

“This will not change due to our exit from the EU. All parties should respect the people of Gibraltar’s democratic wish to be British.”

Gibraltar is a British oversees territory with a population of just 30,000, but holds huge strategic importance to the UK due to its location, on the coast of Spain. It has a UK military base, including a port and airstrip.