Blog: Long queues after new EU checks this year may stir anti-Brexit mood, says think tank – HeraldScotland

MASSIVE airport queues on the continent after the EU brings in new visas for British citizens this year may contribute to a wider sense that “Brexit is not working” a report this week will warn.

The study, to be published by the think tank the UK in a Changing Europe, considers what lies ahead for the future relationship between the UK and the EU27 and how public opinion may change.

Researchers working for the organisation, based at King’s College London, found that the four nations are still “deeply divided” over the decision to leave the UK with attitudes towards the economic impact of Brexit significantly more negative in Scotland and Northern Ireland (which voted to remain) than in England and Wales (which voted to leave).

They cite a poll for the think tank published last year found when asked if Brexit has had a negative impact on the economy, 74 per cent of respondents in Northern Ireland agree, as do 66 per cent of Scots, while in Wales and England only 48 per cent and 43 per cent respectively of voters thought so.

However, the report, to be published on Tuesday, ahead of the third anniversary of Brexit next Monday, raises the possibility of such views changing when the EU introduces new passport requirements for UK nationals and increases charges for pets being taken into the EU.

It says: “From 2023, UK nationals will need to apply online for an ‘ETIAS’  [European Travel Information and Authorisation System] visa-waiver to enter the EU Schengen Zone for even short tourist visits. Routine travel hindrances (which are likely to get worse next year as the EU introduces new biometric passport checks) – including the significant extra costs of taking pets to the EU – could all contribute to the sense that Brexit is not working.”

The EU confirmed last August that UK travellers entering 26 European states in the Schengen area will have to start paying seven euros for electronic travel authorisation to enter them from November 2023.

Once paid for, the visa is due to last three years and will allow unlimited travel to EU countries in that time frame.

Initially, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) was expected to be in operation from September 2022.

The EU’s ETIAS website states: “ETIAS will be a largely automated IT system created to identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen States, whilst at the same time facilitate crossing borders for the vast majority of travellers who do not pose such risks.

“Non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for a travel authorisation through the ETIAS system prior to their trip.”
The EU says: “After filling in an online application form, the system will conduct checks against EU information systems for borders and security and, in the vast majority of cases, issue a travel authorisation within minutes.

“The ETIAS travel authorisation will be a mandatory pre-condition for entry to the Schengen area. It will be checked together with the travel documents by the border guards when crossing the EU border.”

External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson said: “Due to Brexit, the UK is facing a cost of living crisis worse than comparable EU countries, businesses are struggling to recruit and our trade is growing at a slower rate. Additional passport checks at the EU border just compounds the many problems Brexit is causing. 

“Scotland is and always has been a proud European nation and we’re determined to continue to be an active and constructive participant on EU matters, which will ease the process of Scotland’s future return to the EU. 

“The Scottish Government is committed to giving the people of Scotland a choice about the future they want – a greener, wealthier and fairer economy within the European Union, or a sluggish, stagnating economy outside of the European Union. We will continue to publish the Building a New Scotland series of prospectus papers to ensure people can make that informed choice.”

The Scottish Greens Ross Greer said: “Brexit has been a disaster. It has damaged everything its touched and removed our automatic right to live, travel and work across Europe.

“It was always based on a cocktail of mistruths, lies and xenophobia. That is why two-thirds of Scotland voted against in the first place.

“Longer waits when travelling are yet another outcome of that catastrophic decision.
“Polls show a clear majority of people across the UK want to re-join the EU. But that simply isn’t going to happen as long as we are run by a reactionary Tory government prepared to inflict permanent isolation for its own ideological reasons, or a Labour alternative whose Brexit policies are sadly identical. It is only with the powers of an independent country that Scotland can return to the European community and build a fairer, greener and better future.”

David Clarke, Chair of the European Movement in Scotland said:  “Whether travelling for business or pleasure, it’s galling to have to queue to enter the European Union, while our friends and neighbours with EU passports pass by to begin their holiday or head off to a meeting.

“With Europe ploughing ahead with a coordinated entry platform, we are indeed moved to the back of the queue both literally and metaphorically. And remember, it’s also our exports to the EU, and the imports of the food and goods that also have to wait in line because of this Brexit folly.” 

The UK Government was approached for comment.

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