Will Great Britain decide to remain in or exit the EU?


On 23rd June 2016, voters will take to the polls across the United Kingdom to mark a historic choice. The nation’s continuing membership of the European Union hangs in doubt as heated arguments both for and against attempt to persuade the populace to either remain or leave.

Impact on travellers

Those UK citizens who travel frequently to Europe, on leisure or on business, have many things to bear in mind when reaching their verdicts. Foremost amongst these could well be the potential loss of the no-frills and low-cost airline services we have all become accustomed to. New air services agreements would most likely have to be negotiated were Britain to choose “Brexit” and these may lead to reduced competition and a spike in fares. Affordability and easy access being put at risk would certainly affect second home-owners on the continent.

Health safety net

Currently, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives UK nationals free or reduced cost treatment if they fall ill while in all other EU countries. While it should not be considered as a substitute for travel insurance, it is a very reassuring reciprocal arrangement. Again this would be subject to re-negotiation and there is no guarantee what that outcome would be.

Working abroad

The right to live and work in all member states, without a great deal of red tape and bureaucracy, is another aspect of being in the community we have all got used to. From teenagers on their gap years taking casual jobs at beach or ski resorts, to workers not needing a permit or visa for any opportunity which arises, the ability to move around freely has become the norm.

Roaming charges

Most of us now rely heavily on our mobile phones and find it difficult to operate without them. This can lead to unpleasantly high costs when using them overseas, even briefly. A recent piece of legislation has spelled the end of the hated roaming charges by the end of June 2017. This has come about after pressure from the EU. It could be that those charges would once again apply were Britain to leave.

Whatever Britain decides on 23rd June, there’s no doubt that travellers will be affected as much as anyone.

Photo: British flag (Union Jack) in Bangor by Iker Merodio | Photography licensed under Creative commons 2