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BREXIT

UK announces €3.3m grant to help Brits living in EU prepare for Brexit

The British government has announced a new measure to help UK nationals living in the EU prepare for Brexit.

UK announces €3.3m grant to help Brits living in EU prepare for Brexit
Photos: AFP

Grant funding of up to £3 million (€3.3 million) will be made available for voluntary organisations to help inform people about the need to register or apply for residency, as well as supporting them in completing their applications.

“The UK will be leaving the EU on October 31st and we want to help UK nationals living across the EU to be fully ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances. This funding will ensure people get the support they need to apply to protect their residency rights and access to services,” said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announcing the measure on Friday.

 
British embassy and consular staff have consistently emphasized the need for Brits to ensure they are registered properly ahead of Brexit and they hope this funding will help reach those who are struggling with the process.

The government said it wants to support those who may find it harder to complete all the paperwork for Brexit, focusing in particular on pensioners or disabled people, those living in remote areas or with mobility difficulties, and those needing assistance with language translation or interpretation.

Sarah-Jane Morris, the British consul in Spain, explained: “The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October and we want to help UK nationals living in Spain to be fully ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances. This funding will ensure people get the support they need to protect their residency rights and access to services.”

The move was welcomed by campaigners fighting for the rights of EU residents affected by Brexit.

‘It’s welcome that the UK Government has recognised that 1.3 million British people on the continent – 60 percent of whom could not vote in the 2016 Referendum on their direct future – need and deserve practical support to regularise their residency status after Brexit,”  said Jane Golding, Co-Chair of British in Europe, in a statement.

“We look forward to hearing more details in due course.”

Spain has made contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit – brought into law last March in a Royal Decree – pledging to protect the existing rights of British residents in Spain, providing they have the legal paperwork. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.

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