The UK is a nation of animal lovers, a fact which has not escaped the notice of Michel Barnier, European Chief Negotiator for Brexit. He seems determined to throw any available threat at the UK and his latest salvo has been to raise the spectre of a ban on our pets travelling to the continent if Brexit negotiations collapse.
Pet Passport Scheme to be Suspended?
Barnier has said that the pet passport scheme may be suspended after Brexit. His comments were made to the French magazine Le Journal du Dimanche following the latest round of negotiations with Exit Secretary David Davis in Brussels.
Barnier’s comments on pets have caused a major backlash! It has to be said that it is a cheap and underhand tactic to dangle such a threat over the heads of UK citizens. It is beginning to sound as if Monsieur Barnier is conducting a vendetta against the UK. Feelings are certainly running high.
Pets and Planes
The pet passport scheme enables pet owners to take vaccinated animals abroad. The EU chief negotiator claimed that the existing regime of common standards covering travel between the UK and other EU nations would be in peril if negotiations collapse. He has indicated that such a collapse could impact many aspects of international travel including the ability of British planes to land in Europe.
Barnier’s comments have attracted a raft of criticism. He does seem to have overlooked the fact that everything in Europe is integrated and the nations, including the UK, have common standards. Drastic changes to systems such as the pet passport scheme would not be necessary whatever the result of the negotiations and so threats of a suspension sound like deliberate provocation.
Andrew Rosindell, a senior Tory MP and dog lover, has said: “What is this man saying? Surely our beloved dogs and cats are not going to be victims of the Brussels vendetta against Britain now, are they?” Whilst another Conservative MP, Jacob-Rees Mogg has branded the comments as “really very silly”.
Holding Our Nation to Ransom
Barnier is intent on holding the UK to ransom. As the pet passport scheme also covers Australia, Jamaica, Japan, Singapore, USA, there are countries outside the UK whose opinion should be sought regarding any changes and it would be odd if the UK was excluded when these nations were permitted to remain in the system.
Thousands of Tourists
Any changes to the pet passport system would impact thousands of pet owners in the UK. P&O Ferries alone carried more than 20,000 pets from Dover to Calais last year. Many more animals travelled with other carriers. Barnier certainly knows which buttons to press in order to attract our attention. We should not rise to the bait and such deliberate provocation and threats should be ignored.
Too Much to Lose
It is unlikely that pets will be banned from Europe, simply because so many countries and organisations benefit from the pet passport system. Tourism is so important to the finances of EU countries that they are unlikely to approve of any moves which would lead to a decline in the number of UK tourists who visit. Monsieur Barnier is suggesting a move which amounts to the EU cutting off its proverbial nose to spite its face!