The EU ambassadors have backed an agreement on behalf of the Council with the European Parliament Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee to grant Britons with visa-free access to the European Schengen Area even in case of a no-deal Brexit.
With 38 votes pro, eight against and three abstentions the LIBE committee showed their support that once the UK finally leaves the EU, its citizens should be granted with a Schengen Visa waiver given that the UK reciprocates the move.
Sergei Stanishev from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament who is rapporteur for the proposal said after the voting, that this is a step for guaranteeing visa-free travel for Europeans and Britons.
“Today’s vote is an important step for guaranteeing the right to visa-free travel for European and British citizens after Brexit, especially in the case of no deal. It is no secret that the negotiations were blocked over the Gibraltar footnote, but in the end it was Parliament who demonstrated responsibility and put citizens’ interests first. The Council’s irresponsible approach seriously undermines the spirit of sincere cooperation between the EU institutions and I hope it will not be repeated in the future,” MEP Stanishev said.
“If approved, the legislation will apply from the day following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. From that date, UK nationals who are British citizens will not be required to have a visa for stays in the EU of up to 90 days in any 180-day period”, the press release says.
The deal highlights that it will be applicable only if the UK grants nationals of all the Schengen countries visa-free entry for short stay visits. In case the UK introduces visa regime to any of the EU members, the whole EU will immediately reciprocate the measure.