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Cruising in the EU post 31 December 2020: Association Commences Lobbying

4th June 2020
Cork Harbour is a popular Irish cruising destination for UK Boats but the Cruising Association say unwelcome restrictions to cruising in EU countries lie ahead for UK boats Cork Harbour is a popular Irish cruising destination for UK Boats but the Cruising Association say unwelcome restrictions to cruising in EU countries lie ahead for UK boats Photo: Bob Bateman

A cruising issue that has been bubbling away for some time is the change in access rules for UK citizens travelling in the EU after the completion of our exit scheduled for the end of this year.

At present, the UK is offering EU citizens visa free travel for six months out of twelve. The EU is offering only 90 days in 180, the standard Schengen arrangement. This would be an unwelcome restriction to cruising in EU countries. The UK government, having previously indicated they would seek parity are now saying that they don't expect the EU to offer more and that they don't intend to make this part of the negotiations.

The Cruising Association's RATS (Regulations and Technical Services) committee is prepared to investigate what individual countries might offer in terms of longer stay visas, and the CA is now activating a lobbying campaign that it had planned to begin when the COVID-19 virus struck.

Now that there are signs that the peak in the UK seems to have passed, and Brexit negotiations are continuing, the CA feels the time is right to make what representations it can.

The CA's President, Julian Dussek, has written to his MP and to Wendy Morton, Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas, as well as a range of organisations with similar interests, including the 180daysvisafree.org.

The CA is galvanising its UK members to write to their own MPs to ask for help in pressing for equal treatment. General points being highlighted include:

  • the UK is offering EU citizen's a better deal on visa free entry than they plan to offer in return
  • the UK government has said it does not intend to challenge the unfairness and has given no reason
  • a wide range of people in the UK will be affected, including those with family or property in the EU as well as those wishing to continue extended travelling.
  • family crises can arise outside the 90-day allowance and for people cruising in their own small boats, even the most careful planning can go awry with weather or mechanical problems.
  • the penalties for overstaying for any reason can be draconian.

The CA is also contacting those members who live in the EU to ask them to put pressure on their local parliamentarians to try and effect a change from within the EU. If the restrictions are imposed next year it will have a detrimental effect on tourism, an important part of many EU countries' economy.

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