The dispute over whether the British Overseas Territory should be described as a ‘colony’ threatens agreements on legislation that exempts UK nationals from requiring the travel permit.
This morning the European parliament rejected a Spanish proposal that a footnote containing the contentious description of the disputed territory be added to the legislation.
It is the third time the proposal has been sent back by MEPs, increasing the risk the plan will not be in place before the UK leaves.
Czech MEP, Petr Ježek, told the Guardian Spain was ‘playing with fire’ with just weeks to go before the UK leaves the EU.
The plan would secure visa free travel until 2021, after that Brits will need to pay €8 for three years visa-free travel under a new European Travel Information and Authorisation System.
But if the current impasse is not broken and the UK crashes out, Brits planning on staying in an EU country for less than 90 days would have to pay €60 for a Schengen visa that takes up to two weeks to be authorised.
Ježek said: “The negotiation is stuck,Brexit will hurt immensely and we should do everything possible to soften the impact rather than create further problems for half a billion people.
“If there is no agreement, and no visa exemption for the UK, the British government may adopt a similar approach – and that would be a disaster.”