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British may forced to pay to enter Europe’s sunspots under EU visa waiver scheme

LONDON,   (Xinhua) — A scheme that would force families in a post-Brexit Britain to pay around 66 U.S. dollars to head to popular holiday spots in Spain and France came under fierce attack Sunday.

The European Union (EU) is considering introducing a U.S.-style visa waiver system for people from outside the EU wanting to enter the zone.

Andy Burnham, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said a charge on British people wanting to head across the channel on vacation would make it harder for ordinary families to afford a holiday.

Even before Britain joined the EU more than 40 years ago there were reciprocal arrangements that allowed free two-way passage between Britain and mainland countries in western Europe.

Burnham criticised Britain’s interior minister, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd for failing to rule out the idea of a European waiver system.

He said Sunday Rudd failed, in media interviews, to reject the EU proposal which is based on the U.S. ESTA travel scheme in which adults and children have to pay 14 U.S. dollars each.

“The plan would add 40-50 pounds (53 U.S. dollars to 66 U.S. dollars) to the cost of a British family’s holiday to Spain, France or the rest of the EU,” Burnham said.

In a statement from Labour’s headquarters Burnham said: “This is yet another example of the drift and confusion as a result of the government’s failure to plan for Brexit. Ministers should not just accept there’s a cost of 50 pounds for the average family to go on holiday.”

In her media interview Rudd, commenting on the EU waiver proposals, said it was a reminder that it was a two-way negotiating process.

Rudd added: “I don’t think it is particularly desirable but we do not rule it out because we have to be given a free hand.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has made it clear Britain will not show every twist and turn of its negotiations.

The European Commission is scheduled to announce draft legislation later this year to pave the way for an EU travel authorisation system, mainly in response to recent terror attacks in France and Belgium.

Latest figures from Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) show more than 30 million trips a year are made to the European mainland by Britons, including 13 million to the most popular destination country, Spain and almost 9 million to France.

In another interview Sunday, Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith said if he becomes Britain’s prime minister he would consider applying to rejoin the EU, even if the country had already left.

Editor: ZD

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