General Information

Daily News 07 / 04 / 2017

Schengen Borders Code: Systematic checks of EU citizens crossing external Schengen borders mandatory as of today 

As of today, Member States are obliged to carry out systematic checks against relevant databases on EU citizens who are crossing the EU’s external borders, in addition to the systematic checks already being carried out on all third-country nationals entering the Schengen zone. Proposed by the Commission in a direct response to the attacks in Paris in November 2015 and the growing threat from foreign terrorist fighters, the new rules – adopted by the Council on 7 March – strengthen the management of our external borders. The revision ensures a good balance between the current security challenges and the need to avoid disproportionate impacts on traffic flows at border crossings. Alongside the ongoing roll-out of the European Border and Coast Guard, the reinforcement of the Schengen Borders Code reflects the EU’s joint commitment to preserving the freedom of movement within the Schengen area and ensuring the security of EU citizens. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423)

Booking your holidays online: Commission and consumer protection authorities act on misleading travel booking websites

The European Commission and EU consumer protection authorities launched a coordinated screening of 352 price comparison and travel booking websites across the EU in October 2016, as these services were among the most frequent consumer complaints according to the European Consumer Centres. They found that prices were not reliable on 235 websites, two thirds of the sites checked. For example, additional price elements were added at a late stage of the booking process without clearly informing the consumer or promotional prices did not correspond to any available service. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “The Internet provides consumers with plenty of information to prepare, compare and book their holidays. However, if the reviews on comparison websites are biased or prices are not transparent, these websites are misleading consumers. The companies concerned need to respect the European consumer rules, just like a travel agent would. Consumer authorities will now require the websites to solve these issues. Consumers deserve the same protection online as offline.” Authorities have asked the websites concerned to bring their practices in line with EU consumer legislation, which requires them to be fully transparent about prices, and present their offers in a clear way, at an early stage of the booking process. A press release, a Q&A and a factsheet are available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253;Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

EU and Norway conclude negotiations to enhance trade of agricultural products 

The European Union and Norway came to an agreement which will facilitate bilateral trade in agricultural products, allowing EU exporters to reinforce their position on their 8th largest export market for agricultural products. Commissioner for agriculture, Phil Hogan, today said: “I welcome this agreement, which will facilitate trade between the EU and Norway. It will provide more market opportunities for our EU producers and contribute to the continuation of our EU agri-food export success. The EU is the number 1 agri-food exporter in the world with €130 billion of exports in 2016.” The agreement reached following two years of negotiations will grant mutual duty-free access for 36 tariff lines, including for example various types of live plants, corn for feed, various berries and fermented beverages such as perry and cider. As regards products such as meat, dairy, grains, vegetables and ornamental plants, the EU and Norway will grant each other tariff quotas. The draft agreements will now be forwarded to the relevant authorities in the EU and Norway, for scrutiny and formal adoption before their final entry into force. The exports of EU agricultural products to Norway have been steadily growing over the last decade and almost doubled during this period to €2.5 billion. Norway is a net importer of agricultural products and the agricultural trade balance is in favour of the EU. More information is available online.(For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52509)

Plus de 48 000 producteurs laitiers européens ont réduit leur production grâce au programme lancé par la Commission européenne

Les résultats définitifs du programme européen de réduction de la production laitière révèlent que 48 288 agriculteurs à travers toute l’Union européenne ont réduit de manière volontaire leur production de lait de presque 861 000 tonnes d’octobre 2016 à janvier 2017, contribuant ainsi à une remontée des prix du lait. Lancé l’été dernier et financé par un budget de €150 million, ce programme est l’une des mesures phares mises en place par la Commission européenne pour faire face à la crise du secteur laitier. Les premiers résultats avaient déjà révélé une forte participation des producteurs laitiers à ce programme sans précédent. Le prix moyen du lait en Union européenne a augmenté de 31% depuis l’été dernier, jusqu’à atteindre 33,7 c/kg en février 2017. Les modalités du programme prévoient que les producteurs participants reçoivent €0,14 pour chaque kilogramme de lait non produit. Chaque Etat membre avait la possibilité de compléter cette somme avec des fonds européens distribués en juillet 2016 par la Commission européenne sous forme d’enveloppe nationale. Les chiffres de la participation à ce programme sont disponibles en ligne. (Pour plus d’informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52509)

Commission proposes €2.6 million from Globalisation Fund to support former Nokia workers in Finland

The European Commission has proposed to provide Finland with €2.6 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 821 former workers of Nokia Network Systems to find new jobs. The measures co-financed by the Globalisation Fund would help the former workers by providing them with career coaching and individual guidance; employment and business services; a variety of vocational trainings; services for new entrepreneurs and start-up grants; hiring incentives; training-related allowances; pay subsidy and contributions to removal costs. Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: “The global ICT sector constantly requires a new, educated workforce, as the life cycle of products and related software solutions is very short. Therefore, the competition between companies in this globalised sector is fierce. Today’s decision will help 821 former Nokia Network Systems workers to develop new skills for new job opportunities. By helping these workers to manage their difficult transitions, the Globalisation Fund proves its worth once again in mitigating the negative effects of changing trade patterns.” Finland applied for support from the European Globalisation Fund following the dismissal of 945 workers in Nokia and three of its suppliers and downstream producers. These job losses were the result of fierce competition between the Finnish ICT sector and its competitors. The total estimated cost of the package is €4.4 million, of which the Globalisation Fund would provide €2.6 million. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers for approval. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into German plans for electricity capacity reserve

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether German plans to set up an electricity capacity reserve comply with EU state aid rules. The Commission has concerns that the measure may distort competition and favour power plant operators over demand response operators. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Reliable electricity supplies are crucial to a functioning economy and Germany has a legitimate interest to ensure security of supply for its citizens and businesses. It is our role to ensure that companies are granted state support only when it is truly necessary and in a manner that limits distortions of competition. We currently have a number of concerns regarding the need and design of the German strategic reserve. This is why we will investigate further and invite third parties to submit their views on the measure.” The Commission will now investigate further whether its initial concerns are justified. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives Germany and interested third parties an opportunity to submit comments. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. A full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso  – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren  Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Concentrations: La Commission autorise la création par Bolloré Energy et Total Marketing France du dépôt Rouen Petit-Couronne

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, la création d’une entreprise commune de plein exercice, gérant le Dépôt Rouen Petit-Couronne, par Bolloré Energy et Total Marketing France. Toutes les entreprises sont françaises. L’entreprise commune sera chargée du développement et de la gestion du dépôt de produits pétroliers à Petit-Couronne (Rouen). Bolloré Energy est active dans le secteur du stockage d’hydrocarbures et de la distribution de produits pétroliers. Total Marketing France est actif au niveau mondial dans l’exploration, la production, le transport, le stockage et la vente de pétrole et gaz naturel, ainsi que dans le secteur du raffinage des produits pétroliers et de la vente au détail et en gros de produits raffinés. La Commission a conclu que l’acquisition envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problèmes de concurrence car elle aura un impact limité dans l’Espace Economique Européen. La transaction a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d’affaire M.8438. (Pour plus d’informations: Ricardo Cardoso  – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni  Tel.: +32 229 90526)

Commission addresses regulatory barriers for innovators by signing first Innovation Deal on water reuse

Today, the European Commission, together with 14 partners from national and regional authorities, universities, knowledge centres, innovators and end-users, delivers on its commitment to help innovators overcome perceived regulatory barriers by signing the first Innovation Deal on “Sustainable Waste Water Treatment Combining Anaerobic Membrane Technology (AnMbR) and Water Reuse”. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “The Innovation Deals is an instrument towards a more modern and responsive administration that helps innovators facing regulatory obstacles to innovation in the existing EU legislative framework. Implementing Innovation Deals shows that we are changing as an institution, from only setting rules to being pragmatic and pro-active in helping achieve policy objectives through innovation”. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said: “This first ‘Innovation Deal’ on water helps in our push for a circular economy. It comes as we are about to check how European water policy is working. We want our policy to be simpler to put in place and easier to use. The Innovation Deal helps us do this”. The Innovation Deal will explore solutions to overcome the perceived barriers, what the impacts and consequences of the solutions may be and which stakeholders should be involved. The Commission may decide to start follow-up actions. More information in the News Alert will be available here from 13.00 and you can find more information on Innovation Deals here. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 2 298 01 00; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278; Maud Noyon – Tel.: +32 229 80379)




International Roma Day: Statement by First Vice-President Timmermans, Commissioner Thyssen, Commissioner Jourová and Commissioner Creţu

“Equal treatment and fundamental rights are the corner stones of the European Union. Roma have faced a long history of social exclusion and prejudice. Europe’s largest minority – with 6 million Roma living in the EU – continues to be discriminated against and marginalised. We are determined to continue the fight anti-gypsyism and to push for the full integration of Roma in all EU societies and countries. (…) As decided by Social Affairs Ministers in December 2016, the Commission will launch an evaluation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. This evaluation will assess the impact of the European and national instruments put in place so far and provide ideas on how to improve the strategy and make it more effective in promoting Roma inclusion. Integration and acceptance starts on an individual level, and we call on all EU citizens to acknowledge and embrace the equality of Roma and to recognise that Roma history and culture play a unique role.” The full statement is available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253;Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)




La Haute Représentante/Vice-Présidente Federica Mogherini se rend à Alger les 8 et 9 Avril

La Haute Représentante pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité/Vice-Présidente de la Commission européenne, Federica Mogherini, se rendra à Alger les 8 et 9 avril pour assurer le suivi du Conseil d’Association UE-Algérie qui a eu lieu le 13 mars 2017 à Bruxelles. Cette visite, à l’invitation du Ministre algérien des Affaires étrangères Mr Ramtane Lamamra, sera l’occasion de passer en revue les principaux dossiers qui constituent les Priorités de Partenariat dans les relations bilatérales UE-Algérie, telles qu’adoptées le 13 mars dernier. Cela sera aussi une opportunité pour explorer les moyens de renforcer davantage le dialogue et la coopération sur les défis régionaux actuels auxquels sont confrontés à la fois l’Europe et l’Algérie, en particulier en Libye, au Sahel, en Syrie, comme en matière de prévention et lutte contre le terrorisme et la radicalisation, ou sur les questions liées à la migration et à la mobilité. Lors de sa visite, la HR/VP rencontrera une série d’interlocuteurs, notamment le Premier Ministre algérien Mr Abdelmalek Sellal, le Ministre d’Etat, Ministre des Affaires étrangères et de la Coopération internationale, Mr Ramtane Lamamra et le Ministre des Affaires maghrébines, de l’Union africaine et de la Ligue des États arabes Mr Abdelkader Messahel. La HR/VP rencontrera également des représentants de la société civile et prononcera un discours à l’occasion du 30ème anniversaire du programme Erasmus à l’Université Algiers III. Toutes les opportunités de presse seront disponibles sur EbS. (Pour plus d’informations: Nabila Massrali  Tél.: + 32 229-69218; Lauranne Devillé  Tél.: +32 229-80833)


High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini travels to Lucca for G7

On Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 April, Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission will be in Italy to participate in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Lucca. The focus of discussions will be on the main international issues of the day, including the situation in Syria, in light of recent developments and a week after the Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region. G7 participants will also discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the Middle East Peace Process, security in Asia, Iran, Africa, Iraq and Libya. Thematic topics for discussion include migration, maritime security, non-proliferation and disarmament, counter terrorism, climate change, peace and security in the framework of the United Nations, and cyber security. Whilst in Lucca, the High Representative will have several bilateral meetings, including with the Foreign Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, with whom she will discuss EU-Japan relations as well as the international response to repeated violations of UN Security Council Resolutions by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The European Union adopted additional restrictive measures to complement and reinforce the sanctions regime imposed by UNSC Resolutions on Thursday 6 April. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel: +32 229 89359)


Vice-President Ansip in Düsseldorf, Germany for the meeting of G20 Digital Ministers

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip is in Düsseldorf, Germany, today for the meeting of G20 Digital Ministers. For the first time, G20 Digital Economy Ministers adopted a declaration this morning on the key issues for digital transformation. The text “Shaping Digitalisation for an Interconnected World” recognises the relevance of digital for guaranteeing inclusive economic development and endorses many elements already outlined in the EU’s Digital Single Market strategy. For example, strengthening trust in the digital world to enable free data flows, helping people to develop digital skills to harness the potential of global digitisation for inclusive growth and employment, and digitising production for growth. The Vice-President’s speech ahead of the signing ceremony can be found here. This afternoon, Vice-President Ansip will take part in the G20 Ministers working lunch, concentrating on digital entrepreneurship, startups and Micro and Small Medium Enterprises. Yesterday evening, the Vice-President participated in the G20 Ministers’ Working Dinner, focusing on digital skills, training and education. On the sidelines of the G20 event, Vice-President Ansip will meet the Japanese delegation to recognise the good cooperation in the dialogue for data protection and data flows between the EU and Japan. The Vice-President will also discuss cooperation options with the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services of the Republic of South Africa, Siyabonga Cwele. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)


Commissioner Malmström in Poland to participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue and discuss EU trade policy

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström is in Warsaw today, where she is participating in a Citizens’ Dialogue at the Vistula University of Warsaw to discuss with students and others the benefits of the EU-Canada trade deal (CETA) for Poland. This dialogue is the 164th Citizens’ Dialogue with a Commissioner from the Juncker Commission, and is part of a CETA debate forum organised by a student team from the university. The event comes at a timely moment, as this agreement will soon enter into effect through provisional application following its approval by the European Parliament in February. This trade deal will bring new economic opportunities for Polish citizens and businesses by, for example, cutting nearly all tariffs for the roughly two thousand Polish companies currently exporting to Canada. It will create new economic benefits for farmers, food producers as well as car producers, and in sectors of the Polish economy such as cosmetics, fruit and vegetables, and luxury yachts. With 1.5 million Polish jobs depending on exports outside the EU, the Commissioner also set out in a speech the EU’s ambitious agenda of 20 ongoing trade negotiations, with partners such as Japan, Mexico and Southern American countries. In Warsaw, Commissioner Malmström is also meeting Mr Jerzy Kwieciński and Mr Tadeusz Kościński, Secretary and Undersecretary of State in the Ministry for Economic Development of Poland. Later, the Commissioner is visiting the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The Citizens’ Dialogue, for which the Commissioner is joined by Mr Tadeusz Kościński, is web-streamed as of 11:00 here. A program of the CETA Forum is available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56 185; Axel Fougner  Tel.: +32 229 57276)

Commissioner Arias Cañete in Rome for G7 Energy Ministerial Meeting

As part of the preparations for the gathering of the G7 leaders in Taormina, Sicily, on 26-27 May, Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action Miguel Arias Cañete will be in Rome from 9-10 April to represent the European Union at the G7 Energy Ministerial. The meeting will focus on energy security, including cybersecurity, natural gas and Ukraine; and on the new energy drivers such as renewables energy, sustainable alternatives fuels, energy efficiency and innovation in clean technologies. In the margins of the G7 Ministerial, Commissioner Arias Cañete will hold bilateral meetings with the US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and the Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr. Ahead of the meeting, Commissioner Arias Cañete said: “The clean energy transition is now an irreversible process at global level. Putting energy high on the G7 agenda is key to cooperating beyond borders, and sends a strong joint message for more energy efficiency, clean energy technology, and innovation research and development. The EU will cooperate fully for more clean energy as a means to enhance sustainable growth, social inclusion and climate action”. A member of G7 since 1977, the EU is fully committed to developing a European Energy Union in line with the Paris Agreement to combat climate change. To this extent, last November the European Commission presented a ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package (see IP/16/4009) in order to foster investments, unlock Europe’s growth potential and create jobs as the clean energy transition is changing global energy markets. The official press conference is expected to take place at 14:15 CET, see preliminary press programme. More information on the Italian G7 website. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen  Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


The Commissioners’ weekly activities

Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)

General Market

Highlights – Interparliamentary Committee Meeting on the Third Reform of the CEAS – 28.2.17 – Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Our Committee carries out its work in daily interactions with the European Commission (representing the European interest), the Council of Ministers (representing the 28 Member States’ governments and national interests) and in close cooperation with n…

General Market

What Brexit means for Australian travellers: Pounds and sense

What Brexit means for Australian travellers: Pounds and sense

  • It's a great time for a tour of London's big sights

    It’s a great time for a tour of London’s big sights

  • Straits of Gibraltar.

    Straits of Gibraltar.

It is six months since the chances of eradicating 2016’s most hideously ubiquitous portmanteau were reduced to zero. When Britain’s voters in the June 23 referendum narrowly advised they wished to leave the European Union, Brexit was here for the long haul.

But despite having time for things to calm down and settle into shape, little clarity on what Brexit means for Britain – and everyone else – has emerged.

For Australian travellers to Britain only one result really matters – the dollar to pound exchange rate. And that favours Australian visitors. On June 22, a dollar would get you £0.51 – now it’s about £0.59. That is a 16 per cent increase in value over six months, making a trip to Old Blighty considerably more affordable than it has been for some time.

But will it get even cheaper? Well, that requires a look into a chipped and murky crystal ball. Before the referendum, the general consensus on the Leave side was that there would be some short-term pain, but medium to long-term gain. This view seems to have miraculously disappeared beneath an avalanche of chest-beating designed to get the exit pushed through as quickly as possible.

On the Remain side, the questions were largely about whether the medium to long-term gain would happen. The short- term economic hit was taken as a given – it was just a case of how big that hit would be.

In the six months since the referendum, the economic signals have been mixed. Each side has leapt on every sliver of data that supports their viewpoint, and entirely unconvincingly. The only clear, undeniable signal has been that the pound has dropped significantly on the two occasions when Brexit has become significantly more likely. The first was in the immediate aftermath of the vote, and the second in early October when Prime Minister Theresa May announced that Britain would trigger Article 50 – the start of the official two-year leaving process – by the end of March 2017.

There have also been mild boosts in the pound’s standing every time Brexit has looked less likely – such as when the High Court decided that Parliament had to give permission for Article 50 to be triggered. This case has now gone to the Supreme Court, with a decision expected in January.

For Australian travellers, this limbo could represent something of a sweet spot. The inflationary costs of a dropping pound are yet to kick in – and imported food in particular is going to have to cost more soon. Such costs will almost certainly filter through to hotels, so a stay will be cheaper in Australian dollar terms, but not necessarily as cheap as the exchange rates would suggest.

As for what happens if and when Article 50 is triggered (it is generally thought that Parliament won’t block it, even if given the ability to), nobody quite knows. The most likely scenario is that the pound drops again, and businesses that have been playing wait-and-see start putting their post-EU era plans into action.

Conventional wisdom, however, has it that Brexit’s economic impact will be a boon to the British tourism industry. But it’s a bit too soon to tell – not much relevant data has been published. The International Passenger Survey, which collects the figures on the number of global air passenger arrivals, shows there was a year-on-year increase of 2 per cent between July and September. How much of that can be attributed to the Brexit vote is near impossible to work out, and it is not broken down into country of origin.

The British Hospitality Association’s Travel Monitor paints a mixed picture, stating that arrivals were down in July and August, but up in September. Anecdotally, however, tourism authorities believe visits from Australia are up now that word of Britain being cheaper has filtered through.

One key area where any changes are most likely to be felt is among working holidaymakers. In time, the rules could change – with restrictions likely to be relaxed if Britain pursues closer ties with Australia. For now, though, the lower earnings potential is an issue.

British relocation specialist, 1st Contact, which provides services such as opening bank accounts and obtaining National Insurance numbers, says the uncertainty is weighing on the minds of many of its clients.

Sam Hopwood, managing director of 1st Contact Australia, says: “Since Brexit we have seen some types of clients become wary of relocating to the UK. These are mainly the more mature clients with families and homes to relocate. The typical backpacker under 31 years of age doesn’t seem to be bothered by Brexit.

“Many are saying that they are ‘just going to wait and see’. This is a very similar expression used in 2008 around the time of the GFC. We feel that similar to back in 2008, once the media attention to Brexit dies down and people can see that it is business as usual in the UK, those people who were wary will see that the UK still offers great opportunities.”

Alana Deghelli, from gap year specialists the Global Work and Travel Company, says the main change has been in British citizens looking to move overseas, and that there have been queries from Australians holding dual passports. “They were worried that they wouldn’t be given the same access into European countries as before,” she says. “This is a major selling point for the UK as our customers use the UK as their base to continue their travels in the surrounding areas.”

Complicating matters is the emergence of Berlin as a lower-rent, hipper alternative base – particularly for those wanting to work in the creative and tech industries. But the German capital isn’t just pulling Australians away from London – it is attracting young Brits, too. If hostility towards immigration continues to dominate the Brexit debate, then Berlin’s welcoming embrace could become a bigger drawcard.

For now though, there is a risk of overanalysis. Sydney-based fashion illustrator Sara Gilbert nails the attitude most will have when talking about her trip in July. “I did notice a difference in the pound since my trip in April,” she says. “But truthfully, I wasn’t there to shop, save, or enjoy the financial benefits. I guess I was a tad more inclined to shout an extra round, or get an Uber without paining over the cost too much, but that’s about it …”

Making it easier for Aussies to buy a Pom a pint – now there’s a Brexeffect that both Remain and Leave voters can get behind…

NAME Steve McKenna

BORN Manchester

LIVES London

Best post-Brexit bargain sterling’s dip against the Aussie dollar means there are superb accommodation deals to be had, especially with the Landmark Trust, which has an amazing portfolio of historic, quirky properties for rent (imagine staying in castles, follies, lighthouses and cottages). You’ll get particularly good bang-for-your-buck if travelling as a family or group. For example, West Blockhouse, a modified Victorian fort on Wales’ gorgeous Pembrokeshire coast, sleeps eight, and costs $719 for four nights – about enough time to explore the region’s treasures on foot and by car;



Unveiled days before the shock Brexit result, Tate Modern’s new 10-storey Herzog & de Meuron-designed wing is an eye-catching spectacle packed with thought-provoking contemporary art;–


Keen to hear both sides of the Brexit story? Chat with the Brummies of Birmingham, a buzzing multicultural metropolis that polled 50/50 (bar a few thousand votes) in the referendum. The city centre’s Old Joint Stock pub is usually a hive of conversation;


Perched above the famous white cliffs, Dover’s magnificent 12th-century castle has historically protected England’s south coast from foreign invaders. Today’s visitors, however, are welcome to roam its labyrinthine tunnels and medieval interiors;


Starting and finishing in Inverness, this awe-inspiring touring loop weaves through the myth-riddled highlands of Scotland, a mostly pro-EU nation. Swaths of tarmac on this 830-kilometre route were, incidentally, funded by EU grants;


Brexit may mean Brexit (according to the British prime minister), but this vibrant market on London’s South Bank remains resolutely cosmopolitan. It’s a hub of European languages from traders and punters – and food and drink from across the continent and beyond. See


Rail fares are a snip – if booking in advance. You can travel from London to Edinburgh for as little as $42 one way. Pay $94 and go first-class, and you’ll get surprisingly tasty meals, free soft drinks and alcohol, and extra comfort on a journey that takes four and a bit hours and whizzes past some of Britain’s most entrancing scenery. See

NAME Sue Williams

BORN Basildon, Essex, once voted the “naffest” (most bogan) place in Britain

LIVES Kings Cross, Sydney

Best post-Brexit bargain … Book a three-hour tour around London in an old (decommissioned) black cab. It’s extraordinary, and you get to see all the big sights – think Buck Palace, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London and so on – in comfort, with the taxi able to drive, and park, where ordinary cars can’t. With the pound’s slide it’s more affordable than it’s ever been – up to six passengers from just $313. Tours include Classic London, Royal London, Beatlemania, even Jack the Ripper’s London, and they’re also very happy to take special requests. See



This has always been a personal favourite; the only problem is the crowds in a post-Brexit Britain where so many are choosing to holiday at home. Skip the queues with, for instance, a small-group Viator tour that gives you exclusive access to the site, and then bypass queues to Windsor Castle for $80. See


Release your inner James Bond, the ultimate cool Brit, with a ride on a new superfast speedboat up the river from the London Eye. Exhilarating. And only $66 for 50 minutes for adults, $43 for kids. See


Europhiles will be warmly welcomed since every Scottish council voted to Remain. So take this moment to explore one of the most underrated cities in Britain – historic, colourful, wild and wonderful Glasgow.


Gorgeous ruins of a 12th-century monastery near Ripon in north Yorkshire which were laid waste by Henry VIII – the man who was once constantly in conflict with his European neighbours. Not much has changed.


As gloom descends on Britain, why not make a real effort to understand the British sense of humour? Take a half-day stand-up comedy workshop at The Comedy School in London for $126.  You even get a cup of tea and a cake. See


Once, you avoided talking about The War. Now it’s The Referendum. Passions still run high on both sides. Stick to discussions about the lousy weather.

NAME Keith Austin

BORN A Cockney born and bred, from Bethnal Green, East London, and passionate Remainer.

LIVES Sydney, Australia


Given that actual Brexit is several years and a High Court challenge away, we have no idea whether it’s going to look like a fairy on top of a Christmas tree or a pug-ugly troll lurking under a bridge. Best guess? European holidays from Britain are going to be a whole lot more expensive, which means Butlin’s Holiday Camps (all three of them) are going to start looking a whole lot more attractive. Book a bargain now at



On a clear day you can see France. Take a picnic and remember the old days when the Brits could work over there without hassle and good smelly cheese didn’t come with a mortgage attached.


Officially the sunniest town in Britain though no one can predict when that day arrives. There’s a Butlin’s there. See


A lovely market town in Cambridgeshire and the “capital” of the fens. More than 71 per cent of voters here chose Leave. Visit the town but don’t spend anything.


So 95.9 per cent of voters in this British Overseas Territory on the Spanish coast voted Remain. Go visit them and spend up big. They are likely to be depressed and will need some Aussie larrikinism to cheer them up.


(Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and the like) aren’t actually part of the EU anyway but they have intimated that they might, depending on the eventual Brexit terms, break away from the mainland. Prime Minister Theresa May won’t let that happen without a fight. Join the rebels. If it all goes pear-shaped the French mainland is a short ferry ride away.


Be extra careful in the City of London business district at night. What with all the companies decamping to Berlin, Frankfurt and Paris, it will be like a ghost town. If someone called Farage sidles up to you and whispers “change money, change money?” run like the wind.

NAME Rob McFarland

BORN Brighton

LIVES Sydney


London. With the pound significantly weaker against the Aussie dollar, this is the time to splurge on those bucket-list London experiences. Have afternoon tea at The Ritz, stay a night at The Savoy and splash out on dinner at three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. See



Marks the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival, which means there has never been a better time to head north of the border and check out the city’s 12 annual celebrations. See


Harry Potter fans will want to plan their visit around the British Library’s new exhibition, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the release of the first book (October 20, 2017-February 28, 2018). See


In February 2017, the British Music Experience opens in the historic Cunard Building in Liverpool with more than 600 artefacts and 90 hours of digital content. See


Master sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa will open his first European hotel in London’s Shoreditch in the first quarter of 2017. The 150-room property will feature a dramatic three-storey restaurant with a food and drinks menu developed by Matsuhisa himself. See


It’s the British City of Culture in 2017, which means a year-long celebration that includes 25 festivals, 12 artists’ residences and 1500 special events. See


Eventually, Heathrow will have to close its EU immigration channel, which means queues for everyone entering the country will probably increase. Consider flying into a quieter London airport such as Gatwick or fly to France or Belgium and take the Eurostar across the channel. For the ultimate in leisurely arrivals, cruise into Southampton.

The story What Brexit means for Australian travellers: Pounds and sense first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.