UK seeks new deal with EU to ease post-Brexit travel disruption

Tue 25 Apr 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Business traveler going up escalators and looking out of airport window as plane goes by

Prime minister Rishi Sunak is hoping to reach a deal with Brussels to allow British passport holders to use e-gates and make post-Brexit travel to Europe easier.

This would remove the need for time-consuming manual checks, which have contributed to lengthy queues at borders in recent months.

According to the Evening Standard, the PM could use improved relations with Brussels to push for a new passport agreement, using positive momentum built via the agreement on the Windsor Framework deal.

E-gates

The UK allows EU travellers to use e-gates in Britain, but this has not been reciprocated by most European countries.

Some EU member states, such as Spain and Portugal, have let British citizens use their e-gates at major airports to ease pressure, reports the Independent.

The UK is reportedly yet to raise the matter officially with Brussels but it has been talked about informally after relations between the two sides have improved in recent months, according to the Telegraph.

More trouble ahead?

Possible future travel disruption could lie ahead as the EU’s entry/exit system (EES) is scheduled to be introduced in 2024.

As reported previously by the IOE&IT Daily Update, the deadline for EES’ implementation was pushed back from November 2023 into next year, after technical concerns arose.

The system will require citizens from the UK and other ‘third-countries’ to have their biometric data taken to obtain a visa waiver, Bloomberg reported.

Its postponement came as a relief for the authorities at the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel and Eurostar, which have all seen huge problems due to the inspection of passports.

Travel chiefs have warned that there is currently no obvious solution for the extra operations involved in capturing fingerprints and facial biometrics when they come into force.

Strikes update

HMRC’s Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) has issued a warning on the impact of strikes due to take place later this week.

A scheduled walkout by members of the civil service – including Border Force staff – is due to take place 28 April.

The JCCC has advised that the strikes will impact the movement of goods through UK ports and airports on Friday, as well as goods travelling to the UK from UK border controls in Calais, Dunkirk and Coquelles in France. The disruption could last into the morning of Saturday (29 April), as business returns to normal.

Traders have been advised to move goods outside of this period if possible. If a postponement is not possible, JCCC has said that traders should be braced for possible delays at ports and Inland Border Facilities (IBF).

Firms can check IBF site availability here.