Thank you for writing to me about access to the EU for British athletes. I have read your email carefully, noting the key points that you raise.
Athletes make a tremendous contribution to our global sporting success, and please be assured that I am committed to ensuring they have appropriate access to equipment, facilities and support.
I have been advised by my ministerial colleagues that the Government discussed arrangements with the EU for British Citizens travelling to the Schengen Area. Regrettably, the EU has consistently maintained that British Citizens will be treated as Third Country Nationals under the Schengen Borders Code from 1 January 2021. I am led to understand that the EU rejected excellent and sensible U.K. proposals for more flexible mutual arrangements for cultural, sporting and business personnel.
This means that British Citizens are able to travel for visa-free short stays for up to 90 days in a rolling 180 period. This is the standard length of stay that the EU offers to nationals of eligible third countries that offer visa-free travel for EU citizens, in line with existing EU legislation. British Citizens planning to stay longer for longer will need permission from the relevant Member State, which may require applying for a visa and/or permit.
However, please be assured that I continue to raise this matter, and your concerns, in discussions with senior ministerial colleagues. The future partnership agreement with the EU does allow for further negotiation and the potential for positive changes going forward and I know that the UK Government will be pressing very strongly for such changes.
Thank you again for writing to me about these important matters.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking