A thread written by @StevePeers


1/ EU Member States' representatives today agreed that UK citizens can travel without a visa to the EU post-Brexit.
Press release:  https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/02/01/visa-free-travel-after-brexit-council-agrees-negotiating-mandate/ 
Full text:  https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/38044/st05960-en19.pdf 
Some comments.

2/ As the press release notes, this is subject to negotiations with the European Parliament, which decides on visa legislation jointly with the Council.
As it happens, the EP committee unanimously adopted its negotiating position this week:  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2019-0047&language=EN 

3/ The EP and Council agree on a visa waiver. There are only minor differences in their positions.
a) The Council cross-refers to the latest version of the EU visa law, which is here:  https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32018R1806 
b) The EP places more stress on reciprocity, ie UK not imposing visas

4/ c) The Council version:- states that Gibraltar is distinct from the UK as such- lists Gibraltar as a British overseas territory separately from the UK, and

- notes that there is a dispute over sovereignty.

5) This is *not* an attempt to annex Gibraltar. Nor are other Member States siding with Spain as such. They simply refer to the existence of the dispute.

Substantively, British nationals with a Gibraltar connection *will also be able to travel to the EU without a visa*.

6) Some further clarifications.a) Ireland is not covered by EU visa laws. The common travel area applies.b) Every other EU Member State is covered. So are Schengen associates (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein).

c) UK govt policy is a reciprocal visa waiver.

7) UK visitors *will* be subject to a separate EU travel authorisation law once it's up and running. This is less stringent than a visa as such - applications are online and cheaper, and the authorisation is valid for longer. Details here:  http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2018/04/brave-new-world-new-eu-law-on-travel.html 

8) I have zero time for those who whine that being subject to the travel authorisation law is an EU "punishment" for the UK. The UK chose to be a non-EU State without free movement. It's being treated EXACTLY the same as all other such States (USA, Australia etc).

OWN YOUR 💩

9) To repeat: a visa waiver is NOT free movement of people. It waives a visa requirement for "no more than 90 days in any 180-day period" (Art 4.1, visa list Regulation). After that national law (partly harmonised by the EU on the EU side) applies to longer stays.

10) Even during the visa free period, a visa might be imposed as a requirement if UK citizens do paid work. It's up to each Member State (Art 6.3 of the Regulation).

No deal fans, the blessed WTO doesn't waive the visa requirement for service providers:  https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/publications_e/ai17_e/gats_annnaturalpersons_oth.pdf 

11) If the withdrawal agreement is ratified, free movement of people between the UK and EU does apply during the transition period to end 2020 (extendable once by one or two years). It does NOT apply during the backstop which might follow afterwards.

12) Finally for UK citizens living in EU27 pre-Brexit day, their travel within Schengen States or across Schengen external borders is simplified by holding residence documents - which I would suggest they obtain ASAP. /


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