Even though the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, British nationals may still end up paying in the EU’s general budget after it leaves.
Nearly 35 million Britons took holiday trips to the European Union in 2016, with nearly a third visiting Spain, followed by France and Greece.
The European Commission is due to implement the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) by 2021. The program’s principal aim, which is similar to the ESTA program in place in the United States, is to pre-screen travelers to the E.U. before they arrive, allowing authorities to identify potentially dangerous passengers beforehand. Travelers will answer a series of security questions and will be charged an application fee that will then pay for annual running costs.
But as a European Commission official shared on June 26, any surplus revenue would go to the EU budget, thereby reducing member state contributions.
"Any accumulated surplus generated by the Etias revenues would in any case revert back to the EU general budget and hence reduce member state contributions," said the official.
Some, like the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), believe that the British government should negotiate an exemption for UK citizens when it comes to ETIAS. Through a spokesman, they shared that “it is in everyone’s interest to keep these flows [of tourists] going.”
The UK government, however, is focused on negotiating the best possible package for the country and identified ETIAS as "one of the many areas that may need to be addressed as we leave the EU" according to an official.
The European Commission has determined that ETIAS will cost over €200 million to launch and nearly €85 million a year in terms of maintenance. Discussions have not yet begun with EU institutions, but they hope that an agreement will be reached later this year.
Meanwhile, German MEP Jan Phillipp Albrecht suggested that EU would be better off if the region made it easier for people to travel instead of imposing a new system.
"Making it easier for people from countries, which are also democracies, to travel to the European Union and back is a positive thing and we need not to make that more difficult but easier," said Albrecht.