Blog: Fury as UK tourists discover they must prove they can spend £85 a day to enter Spain – Daily Mail

Europe ‘punishes’ British holidaymakers for Brexit: Fury as UK tourists must prove they can spend £85 a day to enter Spain – while Germany joins France in blaming massive Channel delays on leaving EU

  • Spanish guidelines say funds can be in form of foreign currency, traveller’s cheques, cash or on credit cards
  • News sparked anger today, with tourists describing the rules as ‘elitist’ and a ‘kick in the teeth’ to families 
  • It comes as Germany backed France in the escalating war of words over queues at Dover and Folkestone
  • Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told MailOnline EU leaders were rounding on Britain for its decision to vote leave 

By Chris Jewers and Rory Tingle and Martin Robinson for MailOnline

Published: | Updated:

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EU countries were today accused of ‘punishing’ British holidaymakers for Brexit – as it emerged Spain could ask UK tourists to prove they can spend £85 a day to enter and Germany joined France in blaming Channel delays on voters’ decision to leave the Bloc. 

Spanish guidelines say the funds can be in the form of foreign currency, traveller’s cheques, cash, payment letters or on credit cards. In addition to showing they are able hit the €100 a day requirement, tourists may have to provide evidence they have a minimum of €900 (£766.94) available in total. 

The rule, which has taken some Brits by surprise, has been in force since the beginning of the year after the UK became a ’third country’ outside the EU. 

It remains to see whether it will be consistently enforced in practice by the Spanish authorities, but it in theory could be applied as and when Spanish authorities see fit. 

It comes as Germany backed France in the escalating war of words over queues at Dover and Folkestone by insisting that ‘Brexit reality’ was to blame for the chaos that threatens to wreck the summer – despite British officials pointing to a lack of Gallic border guards. 

Germany’s Ambassador Miguel Berger said: ’The blame should not be given to France… because of Brexit, you have border controls. The passport needs to be stamped.’ 

Speaking to MailOnline, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen suggested EU leaders were rounding on Britain for its decision to vote leave. 

‘When it comes to British tourists, the Europeans appear to be cutting off their nose despite their own face as a punishment for Brexit,’ he said.  ’I doubt that the cafe owners in France and the bar owners in Spain would be of the same opinion as their political leaders. 

‘In terms of the Spanish, it’s up to them whether they wish to apply the spending rule, but they should bear in mind that the Brits are their biggest tourist market. It won’t make anyone feel very welcome.’

In addition to threatening to deny entry to Brits who cannot prove they can support themselves financially, Spanish border agents may also begin to ask tourists to prove they have an onward ticket and accommodation booked for their stay.

The news sparked anger today, with tourists describing the rules as ‘elitist’ and a ‘kick in the teeth’ to families and pensioners.

British tourists have reacted furiously after discovering they may be required to prove they are able to spend £85-per-day in order to enter Spain – after the United Kingdom left the European Union. Pictured: Tourists arrive in Barcelona, Spain in July

The rule, which has taken some Brits by surprise, has been in force since the beginning of the year after the UK became a ‘third country’ outside the EU. It remains to see whether it will be enforced in practice by the Spanish authorities

The news comes as Germany backed France in the escalating war of words over queues at Dover and Folkestone by insisting that ‘Brexit reality’ was to blame for the chaos that threatens to wreck the summer – despite British officials pointing to a lack of Gallic border guards (pictured: queues at Dover today) 

Several people took to social media to react to the revelation, with one Facebook user writing: ‘Looks like Spain is making it too difficult and too elitist for many families. 

‘Bit of a kick in the teeth to all those who have been going for years. Families and pensioners will be most affected.’

Another person wrote: ‘Let’s see where they are going to get their tourism from now if people chose other countries.. good luck Spain!’

Another wrote: ‘Pretty obvious what the Spanish are trying to do, restrict people coming for a holiday who don’t have a lot of money. 

‘If people are on an all inclusive holiday they are not spending money in the local area, so not helping the local economy.’

Others directed their ire towards Brexit. One wrote sarcastically: ‘Brexit truly is the gift that keeps on giving.’ 

Another asked rhetorically: ‘More Brexit benefits?’

‘I remember when the proponents of Brexit told us that NOTHING would change if we left the EU. What a joke,’ one angry Twitter user said.

But another Twitter user accused Spain of being an ‘anti-Brexit EU country’, urging his followed to avoid going to the European country all together. ’Great. Do NOT go to Spain. Tired of these anti-Brexit EU countries pushing us around,’ he said.

The new 100 euro-a- day post-Brexit spending rule that is infuriating Britons 

What is the new diktat? 

Visitors to Spain from outside the EU must now prove, if required, that they have the means to afford to be in Spain.

The minimum amount is 100 euros per person per day, with a minimum of 900 euros ‘or its legal equivalent in foreign currency’.

How can the tourist prove they have the money? 

The tourist must prove they have the money in cash, or by presenting certified travelers’ cheques or credit cards.

These must be accompanied by the bank account’s official statement or an updated bank book. Letters from banks or internet bank statements will not be accepted.

What happens if someone doesn’t have the cash?   

If they lack sufficient cash for the length of the trip, their entry into Spanish territory will be denied. They will be put on the earliest possible return flight. 

Exceptionally, the officials responsible for entry control may allow entry, reducing the length of stay in proportion to the amount of cash available.

Is anyone exempt?

  • Anyone with residency in Spain or permission to study or work in Spain
  • Anyone holding a passport for a member state of the European Union or the Principality of Andorra
  • A foreign diplomat

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Someone else pointed out on Twitter that Brits are now considered ‘third country’ travellers in all 27 EU states since leaving the union.

The new rules appear to have come as a surprise to many frequent flyers due to the fact that not all British entrants to Spain are checked. 

While all people entering Spain must meet the requirements, border guards are not required to check all arrivals.

The UK Foreign Office outlined the rules it a statement.

‘At Spanish border control, you may need to show a return or onward ticket; show you have enough money for your stay; show proof of accommodation for your stay, for example, a hotel booking confirmation, proof of address if visiting your own property (eg second home), or an invitation from your host or proof of their address if staying with a third party, friends or family,’ its guidance states.

‘The Spanish government has clarified that the ‘carta de invitation’ is one of the options available to prove that you have accommodation if staying with friends or family,’ it adds.

The Spanish Ministry del Interior said: ‘Foreigners from third countries must prove if required to do so by the officials in charge of controlling the entry of people into Spanish territory, that they have economic resources for entering the country, through cash, traveller’s cheques, payment letters, or credit cards, which must also be proven to have sufficient funds available on them.

‘They must be accompanied by a bank account statement or an updated bank book (letters from banks or Internet bank statements will not be accepted) or any other means that reliably proves the amount available as credit of the aforementioned card or bank account.’

The rules are outlined on the Spanish ministry’s website.

‘Currently, the minimum amount to be credited is 100 euros per person per day, with a minimum of 900 euros or its legal equivalent in foreign currency (with effect from January 1, 2022),’ the website says. 

The reasoning behind this, it says, is that arrivals must ‘reach an amount that represents in euros 10% of the minimum gross interprofessional salary or its legal equivalent in foreign currency multiplied by the number of days they intend to stay in Spain and by the number of people traveling at your expense.’

It adds: ‘In the event that, when carrying out the entry control of people in Spanish territory, it is verified that a foreigner lacks sufficient economic resources for the time he wishes to remain in Spain and to continue his trip to the country of destination or to return to the country of origin, or does not have the nominative, non-transferable and closed ticket or tickets, in the means of transport that they intend to use, their entry into Spanish territory will be denied as established by law.’ 

Since leaving the European Union, British are also required to have their passports stamped at border gates when they are entering and leaving.

UK Foreign Office guidelines states: ’Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.’

The same €100 per-day requirement also applies to people applying for Schengen visas from Spain. 

The daily required means on subsistence for Schengen visa applicants differs between each EU and Schengen country.

In Belgium, for example, Schengen visa applicants must prove they have €95 pet day if they are staying in a hotel, and at least €45 if staying at cheaper accommodation.

In France, the minimum daily amount is €120 if the arriving tourist has no proof of pre-paid accommodation. If the accommodation has been prepaid, that amount drops to €65 per day.
     

In addition to threatening to deny entry to Brits who cannot prove they can support themselves financially, Spanish border agents may also begin to ask tourists to prove they have an onward ticket and accommodation booked for their stay. Pictured: Tourists in Gran Canaria

France checks passports in Britain – and the UK does the same in France – but critics insist Paris is insisting on severe checks as a result of animosity towards the UK

The roads around Dover have been snarled for days. Locals claim the hard shoulder became a public toilet

It came as France today continued to escalate the war of words with Britain over queues at Dover and Folkestone by insisting that Brexit and not a lack of Gallic border staff is to blame for the chaos that threatens to wreck the summer.

Hundreds of thousands of people were delayed by between 21 and 30 hours over the weekend as they tried to cross the Channel at the start of the school holidays.

There were queues on the Kent coast again today but this weekend is predicted to be the busiest of the year – and since the pandemic ended – raising fears that long delays could return.

Yesterday Downing Street insisted it was not as a result of Brexit with senior MPs insisting France is being over-officious with passport checks because they are ‘furious’ that the UK chose to leave the bloc.

Tourists who smoke on Barcelona’s beaches now face fines 

By Natalia Penza for MailOnline

Tourists who smoke on any of Barcelona’s 10 beaches now face fines under new rules. The Catalan capital has become Spain’s first large city to outlaw smoking on all its beaches. The move is the culmination of a strategy which began last year with a pilot scheme banning smoking on four beaches – Sant Miquel, Somorrostro, Nova Icaria and Nova Marbella.

Sunbathers who flout the new restrictions have been warned they will be fined 30 euros (£25), although council chiefs say they don’t expect to have to sanction people for lighting up.

The ten beaches affected by the new rule cover just over three miles of coastline. Eloi Badia, Councillor for Ecological Transition, said: ‘Last year no-one was fined. Everyone understood the situation perfectly and only the odd absent-minded smoker had to be asked to move on to the promenade.’

Barcelona council chiefs say they have extended the ban for health reasons and to appease the majority of beach users and point to scientific evidence showing cigarette butts take around a decade to disappear.

The Spanish government has proposed measures to extend the current prohibition on smoking in public places to include terraces and beaches. But the ambitious new anti-smoking law being worked on, which is also expected to include a ban on lighting up in private cars, is not expected to be fully drafted until 2023.

The country’s Health Ministry also wants to push up the price of tobacco through extra taxes. The number of beaches where smoking is banned in Spain has jumped from around 15 in the summer of 2014 to around 550 at present.

They include 13 beaches in the Malaga province stretch of the Costa del Sol and seven in Majorca. Smoking is also banned on around 25 per cent of the Costa Blanca’s beaches, although on most fines are not handed out to those who light up. The exceptions include Finestrat Cove, an urban cove of fine sand around two miles from Benidorm, where fines for smoking and vaping can reach 750 euros (£636).

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And now senior French politician Pierre-Henri Dumont, Republican MP for Calais, has again blamed delays on the UK’s exit from the EU, telling BBC News it was ‘an aftermath of Brexit’ with more checks needed and claiming the Dover port is ‘too small’ with too few kiosks due to lack of space.

He also told The Times: ‘There is a race to be the next prime minister and everyone is trying to say it is somebody’s fault but this is clearly an aftermath of Brexit.’ He also denied there was a shortage of French border staff after a short delay on Friday.

He said: ‘They ran 24/7 but you had the same queues. That is the crystal clear proof that [British ministers] are lying. The excuses from the British government were silly because this will not change. It is the new reality.

‘We need to co-operate more and more, but co-operation begins by not blaming someone else for your problems. France and the European Union did not ask for disruption. Those who asked were the British government.’

The furious row between London and Paris over tailbacks at Dover and Folkestone continues as a senior French official taunted Britain by blaming queues on Brexit.

Francois Decoster, vice-president of the Haute-de-France region, which includes Calais, even suggested the UK should reverse the 2016 vote to leave the EU – or consider joining the bloc’s borderless Schengen area.

He claimed Britain had gone back 30 years because of extra passport checks now being carried out in Kent on families heading abroad for holidays.

But the remarks sparked a furious backlash, with former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt accusing Paris of punishing Britain by under-staffing the border and refusing to consider relaxing EU red tape around checks.

And one senior Port of Dover official told the Mail: ‘Brexit or no Brexit, what are you trying to achieve with that level of border control? It’s all very well to say you need to be part of Schengen to have light touch control, but do you really? And should you?

‘You do wonder what realistic threat is posed to the EU’s single market by families going on holiday.

‘You either have an awkward process and resource accordingly, or have a sensible process.’ The source added: ‘We’re only going to avoid it again this weekend if the booths are properly manned.’

Only around half of passport booths in the port were manned by French border police on Friday morning, when it declared a critical incident.

By the afternoon, almost all of the ten or so available for cars and lorries were manned. But the backlog was so large it took until Saturday to clear most of it.

This then also freed up the roads leading to Folkestone and the Eurotunnel, where huge queues also formed because travellers could not reach check-in areas. 

Due to Britain now being a ‘third country’, Paris insists travellers must have their passports stamped with dates when entering and leaving the EU’s Schengen area, which France is a member of.

This is to ensure Britons don’t stay more than 90 days within a 180 day period without a visa, which is required post-Brexit for longer visits.

Border guards have also been ordered to ask British holidaymakers whether they have a return ticket, have enough money for their stay and have booked accommodation.

It means it can take an extra 90 seconds longer to carry out passport checks on Continent-bound cars.

Taunting British families while describing his own seamless journey, Mr Decoster told the BBC: ‘I felt very sorry for the British families that were really stuck in such a miserable situation.

‘And, meanwhile, I did an extraordinary journey yesterday. I went from my town in the Haute-de-France to Amsterdam with my family and I crossed two borders and it took me not even a second to cross either of these borders.’

FOLKESTONE: Delays are not what they were at the Eurotunnel this morning despite just two of the ten passport booths controlled by the French being open

Twisting the knife, he added: ‘I had heard that Brexit would have no cost, but apparently it has cost, because we have to change the situation, we have to change and do new [passport] controls.’

Suggesting Britain should reverse Brexit or join the bloc’s borderless Schengen area, of which Britain was never a part, he said: ‘But anyhow, nobody says what the best situation will be – to come to the situation before [Brexit] actually, with no controls.

‘We still have a few non-EU members that are members of the Schengen area, why don’t we explore such an idea?’

French police chiefs were meeting British border officials to discuss how the same debacle can be avoided this weekend.

Families were stuck in queues of more than 20 hours on Friday and Saturday, when the big summer getaway began after schools broke up.

Drivers said they were ‘treated worse than cattle’ and described how children changed into their pyjamas and brushed their teeth on the roadside while desperate passengers were forced to use the verge as a public toilet.

Less traffic is expected at the Dover and Folkestone ports this weekend, but they are still set to be very busy.  

Holidays mayhem… and how to survive airlines, ferries and strikes, as an estimated 70 per cent of families take a break after two years of largely going nowhere

By Mark Palmer, Travel Editor for the Daily Mail 

The baking temperatures which swept across Britain last week may have abated, but travellers are feeling the heat like never before as they look to enjoy a holiday abroad this summer.

It’s estimated that 70 per cent of families have planned or are planning a break following two years of largely going nowhere due to the pandemic.

These plans run the risk of being scuppered by disgraceful scenes such as those witnessed at the weekend at the Port of Dover and at the approach to the Eurotunnel station at Folkestone.

Savvy holidaymakers could be forgiven for thinking reaching the Continent by ferry or train would be a more sensible option than braving an airport. At airports, queues in some cases continue to stretch out of the terminals and, on your return to the UK, you may or may not be reacquainted with your luggage.

The baking temperatures which swept across Britain last week may have abated, but travellers are feeling the heat like never before as they look to enjoy a holiday abroad this summer. Dover is seen above on Sunday

Whatever your form of transport, misery awaits. And it’s not as if staying put in the UK is without its travails, as train unions plan strikes and main roads become an assault course of roadworks.

What makes matters worse is that no one accepts responsibility for this summer shocker. Airports blame the airlines for taking furlough money and then letting staff go; airlines blame the airports for not gearing up sooner and failing to anticipate surging travel demand.

Yesterday saw the unedifying spectacle of two heavyweight industry bosses slugging it out over who’s to blame, with former Heathrow chairman Sir Nigel Rudd accusing ex-British Airways boss Willie Walsh of ‘trashing’ the BA brand, in response to Walsh’s accusation that Heathrow’s dealing with the crisis has been ‘farcical.’

Similar skirmishes have broken out between French and UK officials over how many passport booths are manned at UK ports. What’s certainly missing from the British side, however, is a plan of action to limit the sort of disruptions we saw at the weekend.

We voted to leave the EU in 2016 – we’ve had more than six years to sort out a workable border policy with France. It hasn’t happened, and airlines – especially BA and easyJet – have been ill-prepared for the inevitable increase in travel traffic. The onus falls on holidaymakers to negotiate their own way through the chaos. Here’s a helping hand.

Best airlines

Some airlines have performed better than others. Jet2 – operating out of airports in the North and Midlands – laid off only a handful of workers and has kept cancellations down to a minimum.

Even for Londoners, flying from Birmingham airport with Jet2 might be less stressful that leaving from Gatwick with easyJet.

Ryanair, with some 134.5million passengers a year, is also a good bet. Tui, the largest tour operator in Britain, came in for criticism in early spring but says it’s now back on track and ‘confident of getting customers away on their well-deserved holidays’. 

Opt for an early morning flight, less likely to be cancelled or delayed. Fly to short-haul destinations where an airline offers multiple daily flights so, if one is cancelled, there are others you can take.

Don’t turn up five hours before your flight; you won’t be able to check-in. Travelling on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday reduces the likelihood of cancellations (Sunday is particularly prone). When booking long-haul, pick countries where there may just be one flight a day as airlines will not want to cancel and have to rebook 350 people for the following day, requiring them to billet passengers in an airport hotel.

Opt for an early morning flight, less likely to be cancelled or delayed. Fly to short-haul destinations where an airline offers multiple daily flights so, if one is cancelled, there are others you can take. Bristol Airport is seen above on Sunday

Ferry options

The horrendous queues at the Port of Dover have been caused in part by insufficient numbers of French officials stamping passports, which is required now that we have left the EU.

Average time for a car to be cleared at Dover has increased from 25-30 seconds to between 70 seconds and two minutes. If you absolutely have to take a ferry from Dover, stock up on water and other supplies.

Download the Waze sat-nav, which gives up-to-date information about traffic jams and should find you an alternative route – although remember that thousands of others will be doing the exact same thing.

There are other options for reaching France. Ferries run from Newhaven to Dieppe and from Portsmouth to Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre and St Malo. Three ferries operate between the UK and Spain – Plymouth to Santander and from Portsmouth to Bilbao and Santander.

Tunnel vision

The approach to Le Shuttle has become a bottleneck, with severe delays on the A20 and M20. Operation Block is in action. This is a set of measures introduced by National Highways to keep the M20 open in both directions between junctions 8 and 9.

What this means for cars is that they must leave at junction 8 and follow the diversion route using the A2, M2 and A20, while lorries stay on the M20 and join the queue. There are toilets and other facilities at the terminal, including ‘pets exercise areas’. Sign up for alerts at eurotunnel.com.

Strike alert

Keep abreast of ongoing strike action. Around 40,000 rail workers will walk out on Wednesday across 14 companies after the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union rejected what they called a ‘paltry’ pay offer from Network Rail.

The 24-hour strike comes a day before the start of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the RAC is warning of long delays on the roads as holidaymakers and commuters take to their cars.

Either leave at the crack of dawn or after the evening rush hour but check first with nationalhighways.co.uk, which tells you of any road closures a week in advance, with many of those taking place from 10pm-6am. With fuel prices soaring, it’s worth trying to avoid motorway service stations where costs on average are 37 pence a litre more than local garages.

Know your rights 

If an airline cancels a flight, you are entitled to be re-booked on the next convenient one (with another airline if necessary), or given a refund that should be paid within 14 days.

If your flight is cancelled at short notice – within two weeks of departure – or delayed for more than three hours, you are due compensation.

This does not apply if the cancellation/delay is caused by ‘air traffic management decisions, political instability, adverse weather conditions or security risks’. Similar rules apply to ferry cancellations and delays.

Glimmers of hope 

Airlines were given an amnesty last month over flight cancellations, whereby they could cancel without paying a financial penalty to the Civil Aviation Authority and would not lose their slots. That amnesty is now finished and so it is less likely that your flight will be cancelled.

Also, airlines – via outside companies contracted to them – are busy recruiting staff, which should see results later in the summer and into autumn. The first weekend after schools have broken up is often a mad scramble. We’re over that now. Hopefully.

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Fury as UK tourists discover they must prove they can spend £85 a day to enter Spain

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