British tourists travelling to Europe could have to pay £52 for a visa from the end of next month after Spanish demands over the status of Gibraltar hijacked the Brexit negotiations.
Agreement on whether to exempt UK nationals from the need to secure a travel permit has become tied up in a dispute over whether Gibraltar should be described as a "colony" in the EU's statute book, according to The Guardian.
Spain has insisted a footnote containing the contentious description of the British overseas territory is added to the legislation.
£52 for EU travel visa. Steep in comparison to other countries, no confirmation of length of validity. Travel co’s can unilaterally apply 8% surcharge on holidays already booked for travel post 29/3. All starting to stack up, isn’t it? £500 trip now costing £592. #Brexit— #FBPE (@FizzzyBubbles) 20 February 2019
On Wednesday, 20 February, the European parliament rejected the language proposed by the council of the European Union.
The £52 fee would only come into force after 2021. Until then there would be no need for a visa even if the UK left the EU without a deal.
In the event of a no deal Brexit, British tourists will face massive uncertainty.
MEPs fear British nationals seeking to stay in an EU country for fewer than 90 days could ultimately be required to pay 60 euros (£52) for a Schengen visa.
There have been a number of diplomatic skirmishes over the tiny Mediterranean peninsula since Britain opted to leave the EU in June 2016.
Latest Spanish navy incursion into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters yesterday serves as a dangerous distraction to wider military and security interests in the region. It is nonsensical that Spain should deploy one its warships to play war games in British waters. pic.twitter.com/QYOM0lWkq3— HM Govt of Gibraltar (@GibraltarGov) 18 February 2019
Gibraltar has been governed by Britain since 1713 but its status continues to rankle with the Spanish.
Gibraltar accused Madrid of "childish behaviour" on Monday, 18 February, after a Spanish warship ordered commercial vessels to move from British-controlled waters near the tiny territory.
Britain's looming exit from the European Union on 29 March has raised questions about the continued flow of goods and people along Gibraltar's border with Spain.