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12 Sep 2016

UK citizens may need visas to travel to Schengen Countries

British people may need visas to travel through EuropeUK citizens may have to apply for visas to travel to continental Europe post-Brexit, the British Home Secretary has suggested.

Amber Rudd said reports the European Commission is considering plans for a visa programme to operate across the Schengen free movement area are a “reminder” that the UK is in a “two way negotiation” with the EU as it seeks its divorce from Brussels.

United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen area – which only applies to mainland Europe.

Ms Rudd agreed that people would be “surprised” if they had to apply for a short-term visa to visit countries including France but insisted such a scheme could be rolled out.

She told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC One: “I think they (British citizens) would be surprised. “I don’t think it’s particularly desirable but we don’t rule it out because we have to be allowed a free hand to give the best negotiation.”

The Guardian has reported that France and Germany have backed a visa system based on the US Esta scheme. Under the American system, visitors from countries that do not require full visas must to apply online for permission to travel at a cost of around £11. Control over who comes to the UK was a central issue during the EU referendum campaign.

Ms Rudd said the UK will be able to control its borders post-Brexit but stressed any measures introduced would have to be “reciprocal”.

She said: “Once we leave the European Union we will have complete control over who comes into the UK from the EU and who doesn’t, with one or two provisos of course.

“First of all, it’s going to be reciprocal, we are going to have to work out what’s in the UK’s interests as well going to the European Union and what works for our economy and making sure that we get the right balance.

“Looking across the whole spectrum is what’s going to be the guiding principle.”

Meanwhile, the Republic’s foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan said peace-building work in the north must continue after Brexit.

He told the British Irish Association Conference in Oxford the challenges of Brexit must also be met.

“What has been achieved in Northern Ireland over the past decades is extraordinary, but there is a long way still to go,” he said.

“I want to assure you that I, together with my colleagues in Government, will ensure that the important ongoing work of protecting the peace and building reconciliation is pursued just as vigorously as the challenges posed by a UK exit from the EU.”

Original news: irishnews.com

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