One of the key countries in the European Union, Great Britain recently shocked the entire world by its decision to leave the European Union after a vote, now commonly known as, ‘Brexit’. Brexit is a shorthand which is an amalgamation of the words ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’. The decision of whether Britain should continue to stay in the European Union or not was decided by a referendum, in which all citizens of the United Kingdom of voting age can take part in. Over 50% of citizens decided to vote for Brexit with over 70% of citizens turning up take part in this historic referendum.
In order to gain a thorough understanding of this topic, it is important to know certain basic details about the European Union. The European Union or EU for short is a political and economic partnership that involves 28 countries in Europe that got together to foster economic trade and cooperation between them. It has become a ‘single market’ of sorts and allows people and goods to move across various countries as though they were a single country. The EU has its own currency and parliament, and also decides on rules that pertains to different aspects of all countries such as transport, environment, consumer rights and others.
However, although the fate of the UK has been decided, the process with which it can leave the EU is not an easy one. For starters, UK will have to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which gives both sides a period of two years, to agree to all terms and conditions of the split. This process will be started by the UK only by the end of 2016 according to Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May. Until this has been done, a clear idea regarding all deals that the UK can seek from the EU regarding immigration and trade will not be possible. However, there are a few strong speculations and non-committal ideas that may give individuals all over the world a general idea about the deals that may be pushed through.
How will Brexit Affect British Tourists Travelling throughout Europe? Will they require a separate visa?
One of the biggest industries that will be affected by changes due to Brexit is the transportation industry. This is because, when UK was a part of the EU, there were no restrictions or uk visa requirements while moving within the Union, but now that UK has exited the EU, there will be changes. According to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, there will be a period of two years for changes to take place, hence as of now, Britons can travel across the European Union as before.
However, even after all formalities have been completed, there may not be any major changes when it comes to the freedom of movement that exists between all the European Union member countries. One of the most important reasons for UK leaving the EU was to stem the flow of immigrants and to control migration into their country, but it is highly unlikely that freedom of movement will be completely stopped. This is also because other EU members may not agree to restrict freedom of movement completely as it will have a negative effect on their country as well. However, if UK does decide to go against the Swiss model and try to completely stop migration, UK citizens may need to procure separate visas based on the amount of time they wish to spend in another European country.
As of now, there are no changes applicable on Britons who wish to travel across countries that are a part of the EU. There has also been no official word on the same from the government hence, for the time being, travelling can be continued in the same way, as it was prior to Brexit.
Can Britons continue using their current passports?
Currently, the passport carried by Britons are emblazoned with the words ‘European Union, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. However, there are no changes as of now regarding the visa or passport. A representative for the Home Office in the UK had previously mentioned that it is too early to speculate on changes regarding passports of UK citizens. The current passport will continue to be used as usual, until such a time when all changes have been made in the policies.
What will happen to citizens of EU who currently live in the UK?
As of now, there has been no concrete word from the Government of the United Kingdom regarding the status of citizens of EU who live in the UK. According to the government, it is not possible to shed light on the same until a reciprocal pledge has been provided by the EU regarding British citizens living in Europe.
However, all those EU nationals who have a right to permanent residence(which is provided after having lived in the UK for five years) will be allowed to stay whereas the rights of others will be based on Brexit negotiations and parliamentary will.
What will happen to UK citizens who live in the EU?
Although there are no changes that will be applicable to UK citizens living in the EU as of yet, based on negotiations and deals that are agreed upon by both parties, situations may change. If free movement rights are retained, then there may not be any hassles or changes that may affect UK citizens but work permit restrictions are imposed, then Britons may have to apply for work visas.
How will Brexit affect buying Euros and exchange rate?
The Sterling reduced by a massive 11% overnight after Brexit and the pound reduced to 1.2 against the Euro. Currently, the exchange rate is €1.24 to a pound as compared to €1.36 at the beginning of the year 2016. The Sterling has continued to suffer. This may result in UK citizens having to pay more to travel abroad.
Impact on day-to-day spending will also be significant as the pound has decreased in value. Consequently, imported goods may also become pricier. However, these price differences may not start right away but by next year, this difference may start getting noticed.
The only advantage is that, those who wish to travel to the UK might find it slightly more cost effective.
Will there be a rise in holiday costs?
The decrease in Sterling means that price the UK citizens pay to travel, will increase. The level to which there will be an increase in prices will depend on the level at which the pound settles. Holiday companies are also allowed to impose surcharges resulting due to currency fluctuations or rising fuel costs after absorbing 2% of the increase. Hence, those who have already paid for their vacations may not have to bear the brunt of this, but for those who are yet to travel, may have to pay a higher amount.
Will passenger rights be affected?
Passenger’s rights may also get affected. In case of disruption for flight passengers, the EU has stipulated compensation and care. But, these rights may end for UK airlines while flying from UK airports. There are chances that a future UK government may create its own set of rules regarding passenger rights.
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