Speaking after a meeting in Strasbourg, commission vice president Frans Timmermans stressed a Brexit deal was still the EU’s preferred solution
Britons will not need visas to travel to the EU even if there is no Brexit deal, Brussels conceded today.
Anyone staying for less than 90 days will be able to visit freely as long as the UK reciprocates.
The reassurance from the EU will be a major relief for holidaymakers – and businesses across the continent who thrive on British tourism.
The commission said: ‘In the scenario where the UK leaves the EU without a deal, this would apply as of 30 March 2019.
‘If a deal is reached, however, it would apply as of the end of the transition period.’
The statement said the fallback plan – which will need to be signed off by the European Parliament – was ‘entirely conditional upon the UK also granting reciprocal and non-discriminatory visa-free travel for all EU member states’.
Speaking after a meeting in Strasbourg, commission vice president Frans Timmermans stressed a Brexit deal was still the EU’s preferred solution.
‘Very intense negotiations are ongoing. It is clear that although we are making progress, we are not there yet,’ he told a press conference.
‘We also discussed a number of issues related to our no-deal planning. You have to do that anyway.
‘We are working very hard for a deal and let’s be clear that is by far our preferred option. But we need to prepare for all options.’
Despite the good news on visas, the commission’s new no-deal guidance said UK driving licences will no longer be recognised automatically by EU states.
Motorists will need to check with individual countries whether they will require an international driving permit, the notice said.
UK nationals will no longer be able to use the priority EU passport queue and will be subject to extra questions about the purpose and length of their visit, it said.
As efforts intensify to thrash out a deal, the PM told Cabinet today that no breakthrough has yet been secured on the crucial Irish border issue.
The clock is running down on a deadline of tomorrow for triggering a crunch summit that could approve a divorce package this month.
Motorists will need to check with individual countries whether they will require an international driving permit. Pictured is holidaymakers queuing at the Port of Dover
Mrs May said during a 45-minute discussion that UK officials were pushing for the ‘best text that can be negotiated’.
Sources said agreement was ‘undoubtedly closer than yesterday’, and ministers are increasingly confident they will be summoned for another meeting.
But Boris Johnson tore into ‘stage managed delays’ to the Brexit process, saying people should not be ‘fooled by this theatre’ and a ‘surrender’ by the government is imminent.
As pressure ratchets up on Mrs May, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is said to be spearheading a group of ministers warning that crashing out of the EU is better than caving into the bloc’s demands.
Mr Raab has apparently being trying to harden the resolve of colleagues by assuring them that a no-deal Brexit can be ‘managed’.