British citizens may have to apply for visas to travel to Europe after the UK leaves the EU, according to reports.
A scheme apparently being debated by the European Commission suggests the 26-nation passport-free Schengen zone, which does not include the UK, could operate a visa programme similar to the US waiver.
Currently UK passport holders can travel throughout member states without having to apply for short-term visas.
But Britain’s decision to leave the EU has left question marks over the criteria needed for UK nationals to visit the Schengen zone.
According to The Guardian, the EC is due to unveil new draft legislation later this year as part of a broader response to calls for greater security across the continent following recent terror attacks in France and Belgium.
Camino Mortera-Martinez, a research fellow specialising in justice and home affairs at the Centre for European Reform, was quoted in the newspaper saying: “In theory UK citizens, as third-country nationals, would certainly be subject to the obligations (of such a scheme).”
He added: “This will have to be part of the Brexit talks. It will all have to be negotiated.”
Meanwhile, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has launched an extraordinary attack on Britain’s “lazy” business culture, accusing UK executives of preferring to play golf rather than fulfilling their “duty” as exporters.
He suggested the UK had lost its way as a trading nation and had grown “too fat” on the successes of previous generations.
As the country’s circumstances change following the vote to leave the EU, the Brexit-backer said Britain’s business attitudes have to adapt.
In unguarded comments at a drinks reception on Thursday night, reported by The Times, Dr Fox said: “This country is not the free-trading nation that it once was. We have become too lazy, and too fat on our successes in previous generations.”