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No-deal Brexit: Brits travelling to Europe 'to face passport problems and soaring mobile bills'

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No-deal Brexit: Brits travelling to Europe 'to face passport problems and soaring mobile bills'
Photo: AFP
09:11 CEST+02:00
The British government was set to release more risk assessment papers on Thursday warning its citizens of future headaches with driving licences, passports and mobile phone bills if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.

The reports are part of a series of so-called impact papers or risk assessments produced by the British government to prepare its citizens for likely scenarios if the UK crashed out of the EU without a deal.

Last month the British government released a list of 25 'technical notices' revealing that Brits living in the European Union could lose access to their UK bank accounts and would face higher credit card charges in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

New papers will be published Thursday that touch on the subjects of driving licences, mobile phone bills and passports.

The papers are due to be released officially after British PM Theresa May chairs a special cabinet meeting on what to do in the event of a no-deal.

But the notices are expected to warn that the mutual recognition of EU driving licences would automatically end if Britain leaves the EU without an agreement.

That scenario would clearly create headaches for Brits living in France who use their British driving licenses as well as the thousands of tourists and lorry drivers who cross the Channel each day.

When it comes to passports the government is expected to warn that after Brexit unless a deal is thrashed out then EU countries may not allow British citizens to enter their countries if they have less than six months left on their passport before it expires.

Up until now this has not been an issue.

And as many have also predicted the government is warning that mobile phone roaming charges for Brits who travel to the EU could soar from March 2019 if there's a no-deal Brexit.

The question of what will happen with roaming charges even if there is a deal between London and Brussels is still unclear. Under the draft withdrawal agreement EU regulations, which currently limit roaming charges, would apply to the end of the transition period in December 2020.

But in March 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May said that after Brexit the UK will not be part of the EU's Digital Single Market, which will continue to develop after our withdrawal from the EU.

That means that the European regulation that bans roaming charges will not automatically be part of UK law, so British mobile operators might be able to reintroduce the charges. But all may depend on what is included in any deal struck between London and Brussels over their future relationship after Brexit.

Brexiteers say the risk assessments are scaremongering on the part of the British government but Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has said he believes the impact papers are "part of our sensible, pragmatic approach to preparing for all outcomes."

Speaking ahead of the publications Raab said: ‘With six months to go until the UK leaves the European Union, we are stepping up our ‘no deal' preparations so that Britain can continue to flourish, regardless of the outcome of negotiations.

He added that "getting a deal with the EU is still by far and away the most likely outcome."

The release of the papers is also believed to be tactical on the British government's part as they attempt to show Brussels that they are seriously preparing for a no-deal Brexit in order to strengthen its negotiating hand with Brussels as negotiations reach a critical point over the coming weeks.

More impact papers are set to be published in the coming weeks.

 

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