The UK government is seeking to claim credit for new EU laws that will strengthen the rights of millions of Brits who take package holidays or book linked travel – but from the loss of free mobile phone roaming to the threat to flights between the UK and EU, a Tory Hard Brexit threatens misery for British holidaymakers, Labour MEPs warned.
As a result of the package travel directive, which came into force across the EU yesterday, people who book package deals, or book flights and hotels separately but via a linked process, will be entitled to: clear information on the package and its price; refund and repatriation in case of bankruptcy; total liability for the operator; the right to cancellation, subject to a reasonable fee; accommodation in case of a delayed return; and help for travellers requiring consular or medical assistance.
In March, Theresa May said the UK will leave the digital single market after Brexit, meaning holidaymakers and businesses risk being hit with a return to roaming charges, and if there is no Brexit deal at all, there is also a risk to flights between the UK and EU.
Catherine Stihler MEP, vice-chair of the European Parliament internal market and consumer protection committee, said:
“The shamelessness of Theresa May and the Tories knows no bounds. Just like they did over new EU laws banning rip-off credit card payment fees, they are trying to claim credit for new measures that will benefit millions of British holidaymakers – and not content with plagiarising authorship of these great new consumer regulations, a Tory Hard Brexit actually threatens many of our existing rights that we take for granted.
“The prime minister has already said Britain will leave the digital single market, so that’s goodbye to free roaming and the ability to call and message home at no extra cost, and hello rip-off phone bills, while under the nightmare no deal scenario many Tory Brexiters are pushing for, with no deal on aviation, it’s goodbye to flights to Europe when even the US has an open skies deal with the EU.
“Throw in potential visa fees to travel to Europe, and it all adds up to a Tory Hard Brexit meaning holiday Hell for Brits – no wonder they want to claim credit for consumer benefits EU membership has brought.”