Brexit latest: Germany plans visa-free travel for British visitors
Germany wants to allow British nationals to enter the country visa-free – even in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
Germany's Interior Ministry has backed EU proposals to allow Britons to enter the Schengen zone without a visa during short trips, reported the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The proposals, detailed in a five page letter seen by the newspaper, are designed as a guideline for the country’s 16 states. No information has been given on how to process Brits who are visiting Germany for longer periods.
As The Local has reported, the UK Ambassador to Germany already told us that the move was expected.
Sir Sebastian Wood said the European Commission has proposed that the UK is placed on its list of visa-free countries, “which would mean that UK nationals would not need a visa for short visits – whether for tourism or business”.
“For stays longer than 90 in every 180 days, this will depend on the approach taken by the EU and individual Member States. The FCO's (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) travel advice page provides the most up-to-date information on entry requirements for travellers, and will be updated regularly.”
As the Local has reported, all UK nationals living in Germany have to apply for a residence permit if they want to live in the country after Brexit.
However, the government has assured Britons that no-one will be refused a permit and forced to leave.
In the briefing, the Interior Ministry advised states to guarantee residency rights to Britons.
“No British would have to leave Germany as a result of Brexit, including pensioners and welfare recipients," Axel Dittmann, who is head of Germany's Brexit Task Force, told The Local last week.
We also revealed that the German government is planning to extend the transition period for Brits, in the event of a no-deal, from three months to a total of nine months in order to give people more time to prepare and apply for a permit.
New law planned
Authorities will also look at forming a new law that would make it easier for groups such as pensioners, unemployed people or low earners to meet the requirements for a permit.
The government has also advised foreigners authorities to get the message out that permits are needed by Britons. The ministry says consultation hours and telephone hotlines would be beneficial.
Franziska Brantner, spokeswoman for European policy for the Greens in the Bundestag, called for close coordination of the government with the EU.
"British citizens who already live in Germany need above all legal security," Brantner told the SZ. Brantner added that it would also be the job of the German government “to strengthen the cohesion of the EU in the course of further negotiations with Great Britain”.
Fears over travelling
Some British people living in Germany have also raised concerns about travelling to and from Germany if a no-deal Brexit happens.
In this case, German authorities have told The Local there could be delays and have advised people to travel with documents proving that they live in Germany.
Dittmann said: “Third-country nationals are subject to stricter inspection requirements than the entry of Union (EU) citizens. We therefore recommend calculating delays when travelling. In order to facilitate border control.
“We further recommend that you carry documents to substantiate your previous long-term stay in Germany, e.g. residence cards and certificates of permanent residence under the Freedom of Movement Act, certificate of registration, employment or rental contract, etc.”
Meanwhile, Germany’s minister for Europe has launched a verbal attack on UK politicians, accusing “90 percent” of the British cabinet of having “no idea how workers think, live, work and behave”.
At the centre-left Social Democratic party’s (SPD) conference on Saturday, Michael Roth described Brexit as a “big shitshow”.
Michael Roth. Photo: DPA
He also said British politicians responsible for Brext were “born with silver spoons in their mouths" and went to private schools and elite universities”.
Roth added: “I don’t know if William Shakespeare could have come up with such a tragedy but who will foot the bill?”
It came after the SPD unveiled their European Parliament election poster, which ridiculed Brexit and Boris Johnson.
British Brexiteer tweets AfD video
In another interesting spat, Conservative backbencher and Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended his decision to tweet a video supporting Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Rees-Mogg tweeted a video of a speech by Alice Weidel, a senior member of the far-right, anti-Islam AfD.
He said he did not endorse the party’s views but that the opinions in the video were of “real importance”.
In the video Weidel said German Chancellor Angela Merkel was partly responsible for Brexit by showing too little flexibility when David Cameron was trying to reform the EU, and said Merkel should help the UK stay in the single market.
Rees-Mogg defended his tweet, stating on LBC Radio that he thinks “it’s important people know this is a strand of German political thinking”.
“I don’t think retweeting is an endorsement of things that other people stand for,” he added. “It’s just pointing out that there’s something interesting that is worth watching.”