British citizens may have to apply online and pay to travel to Europe after the UK leaves the EU, under plans being drawn up by the bloc for a visa waiver programme similar to the US system.The European commission is due to unveil draft legislation for the EU travel information and authorisation system (Etias) later this year as part of a broader response to calls for greater security across the continent following recent terror attacks in France and Belgium.The scheme would cover all visitors to the passport-free 26-nation Schengen zone – of which Britain is not a member – from countries that do not need a visa to enter, EU sources confirmed.
Now.. this is interesting. I have suggested before that we should consider joining Schengen. As things stand post Brexit we will be the ONLY EU country not therein or moving towards same. The Commission document underlying this is here . A discussion is here
Schengen is a visa free zone. We are in another, the Common Travel area. In effect we have over decades adopted a visa and travel scheme that the UK accepts as equivalent to its own, given the open border with Northern Ireland. But post Brexit that will be an open border with a third country.
We may face a choice – preservation of unrestricted movement with Tyrone or with the Tyrol. Can we remain part of the UK immigration system allowing them free movement into the EU and at the same time remain part of the EU system? Can we negotiate something as complex as that with a commission whom we are , in the Apple case, daily denigrating and catcalling? What makes us special snowflakes?
Schengen will deepen. As Europe moves more right this is inevitable. Can we be outside Schengen and truly be within Europe?
Its a mess.