A senior European figure has released Theresa May’s claims that the new blue passport is an expression of post-Brexit “independence and sovereignty”, as Britain could have selected switch colour while staying in the EU.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit coordinator said, there was no EU law “dictating passport colour” so Britain could have carried back the traditional blue travel document at any period.
On Friday, the Government announced that, burgundy British passports would be exchanged with blue and gold documents from 2019 as the agreement is up for its frequent five-year renewal.
Ms May tweeted that, “The UK passport is an expression of our independence and sovereignty – symbolising our citizenship of a proud, great nation.”
She also stated, “That’s why we have announced that the iconic blue passport will return after we leave the European Union in 2019.”
Eurosceptic MPs seized on the news as a symbol of Britain casting off Europe’s influence but Mr Verhofstadt pointed out that Britain could have selected switch the colour despite of Brexit.
There is no Brussels regulation which says that EU countries’ passports have to be a fixed colour, only a legally non-binding European Council resolution from 1981 that advises burgundy.
Mr Verhofstadt tweeted that, “There is no EU legislation dictating passport colour. The UK could have had any passport colour it wanted and stay in the EU.”spell
It comes amid reports that the current passports could travel delays and additional paperwork for British citizens unless the Government makes adjustments in the Brexit talks.
EU officials said The Guardian that “depending on how negotiations go on all free movement issues after Brexit”, British passport holders could lose the right to use fast-track citizens lanes abroad and might have to utilize a current visa waiver scheme same to the American Esta scheme.
Brexiteer MPs are at present nagging that the new passports are made in the UK as EU offering rules mean the documents could be created abroad.
Prominent Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted that “Symbolism is important and I hope it will be printed in the UK too.”
And Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen told, “Passports are symbolic of our national identity and sovereignty and of course they should be manufactured in the UK.”
The new passports will be phased in after the UK leaves the European Union in March 2019, with the EU insignia eliminated.
The blue colour was really a foreign imposition, originating in guidance provided by the League of Nations in 1920, and the UK has announced some biometric features to comply with American visa waiver needs.
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