On the 23rd June Brits will be given the chance to decide whether or not Britain should stay in the European Union. The impacts of leaving would undoubtedly be huge, but for the purposes of this post we’ve decided simply to hone in on those which may affect the travelling UK surfer and speculate on what might change regarding their surf-based travel within Europe.
The first and most important thing to note before we dive in is that there haven’t really been any pre-agreed terms in the case that Britain decided to leave. Apparently the document containing all of the rules and regs that guide our relationship with other EU countries is 80 thousand pages long and in the event of us leaving we’d be looking to throw out some of those rules all together, keep some exactly as they are and negotiate (probably at some length) on other ones. As a result all the answers you will read below are very much speculation, but we’ve tried to our best to source them from those most in the know.
Will I still be able to go and spend a season working in a surf camp or behind a bar in France/ Spain /Portugal or move there more permanently to work?
Best to kick things off with one that nobody seems to have any clue as to the answer to. When asked a similar question by a Radio 4 listener BBC Europe correspondent Chris Morris simply replied ‘We don’t know. There’s a lot of things that would have to be re-negotiated and it would probably become more complicated for you to live there than if you’re an Eu citizen ‘. Experts reckon that there would probably be the implementation of some sort of Visa system and if the UK remains in the single market (like the Swiss or the Norwegians) these Visas may well be quite easy to get hold of. However it’s possible that countries like Spain, who have relatively high youth unemployment, particularly in the North where a lot of the good waves are, might be a little more cautious about handing out Visas for Brits to come over and do work that could otherwise be being done by Spaniards, especially if we start putting up barriers for them to come and work here.
What about if I just want to go on holiday, will it end up costing much more?
The short answer is yes it could well do, as Brexit could see big changes to both the cost of travel itself and how much your spending money holds its value. Here’s Chris Morris speaking on the latter point: ‘If Mr Cameron is right and leaving the EU resulted in panic in the city and the pound plummeted then it would of course hit you big time in terms of [the cost of] your holidays in the EU’. Experts reckon that if we leave the pound could become very weak against the Euro, meaning a bottle of beer on the beach in Peniche could end up costing as much as it would in a London pub. Regarding the cost of travel itself some of the budget airlines have already indicated their costs would increase dramatically because of the amount of admin work that would be required to negotiate deals around landing rights, airline duties etc, with all the different countries they fly into individually rather than being able to do it all in one go as they can currently. We’re guessing if their costs increase they are likely to pass that onto the consumer, meaning a possible hike in the cost of flights.T here are numerous other ways your holiday may end you costing you more as well. Mobile roaming charges on your phone, for example, which seem to have only just come down to something near reasonable, may well sore again if we leave as these have previously been driven down by the EU. Getting an ear sliced open by someones fin whilst surfing La Grave could also could end up costing you as you may well no longer have access to France’s (or Ireland’s or Spain’s etc) healthcare systems free of charge.
It’s important to note that none of this is going to change over night if we do decided to leave, so don’t go cancelling your ferry to Santander just yet, there will be a period of at least 2 years for negotiation and some experts reckon it may take as long as 10 years for all the new changes to come into effect. If you have any more travelling surfer related questions pop them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them. If you’re a UK citizen over 18 and what to have your say you can register to vote by clicking here.
Words & Photos Luke Gartside