The European Commission has told member states that visitors from the UK will not be allowed to use the passport e-gate. From 1 January, the British will be forced to join long queues from the United States and other parts of the world, including China. And the European Tourism Association warns that this means it could take about five hours to travel from Europe to popular destinations such as Ferro, Alicante or Tenerife with only a single passport lane.
British negotiators called on Brussels to allow European countries to behave in the same desirable manner as they do now on British holidays.
E-gates electronically scan biometric passports and money travelers should not be physically checked by any border guards.
These are at airports across the UK and Europe, as well as at Eurostar terminals in Paris, Brussels and London.
They can only be used by citizens of the 272 member states of the EU, as well as citizens of Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Britain falls in huge queue after EU rejects fast lane passport offer
Michelle Bernier’s negotiators say the EU does not allow British tourists to use the e-gate
The British commission has refused to maintain mutual access to fast lanes after the end of the post-Brexit transition on 31 December.
At a private Brussels meeting this month, one of the top Eurocrats told Capitals: “EU law currently protects the use of e-gates for EU / EEA / CH passport holders.”
UK officials have warned that European Union sympathizers could retaliate against European travelers arriving in Britain for their indifference.
British ministers have previously said they would continue to allow EU citizens to enter the country quickly after arriving in the country after Brexit.
This row has been confirmed by British and EU sources surrounding the dispute over future relations agreements.
Busy European airports can hold the British in line for up to an hour
A source in the UK negotiating team said: “We have proposed to discuss access to e-gates in line with our previously published positions.”
Access to the European Union has not yet been discussed in formal trade talks.
In line with the political declaration agreed between the Prime Minister and the EU last year, the UK government has indicated its interest in discussing reciprocal measures as part of the EU’s broader interest in international affairs.
British officials are reviewing future arrangements for EU citizens at UK border gates.
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Visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, Singapore and South Korea are all allowed to use fast lanes at UK airports.
A senior EU diplomat says: “Growing up in Brussels, Boris Johnson values the ability to travel freely on the continent. So it is perfectly fitting that the UK is now asking the EU to change its own law to allow London to stay forever.
“We are probably going to be manipulated by the EU,” he said. “We just want a Canada-style agreement.” It’s not. “
Brexit’s Tory MP says the threat of border crossings would be reduced if the UK and the EU agreed to a subsequent trade deal.
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He said: “Right now there is a lot of nonsense on both sides because we are trying to reach an agreement with the EU.
“The truth of the matter is that if and when there is a free trade agreement – and I think it will happen in the next few days – I am sure that our suggestions for queuing up for entry into France will disappear.
“It’s just the kind of nonsense that flies around during discussions.”
Studies have concluded that e-gates reduce the loss of access and that extra-branded post-checks can add hours to airport waiting times.
As it stands, border officials spend 25 seconds to check the passport but for UK travelers it will increase by an additional 90 seconds.
Officials at Schiphol in Amsterdam, one of Europe’s largest airports, have warned that it could be more than an hour long queue for visitors arriving on busy flights.