This morning (25 June 2021), while reading the Financial Times, I was hit by this title: “EE to bring back mobile roaming charges in Europe“. For those who are not in the UK, EE is one of the four major telephony providers (owned by British Telecom) that claims to offer No.1 5G network while providing also home broadband.
This is one of first effects of Brexit that many of us feared. As a matter of fact, the UK is not part of the EU anymore, thus it has not further obligation to comply with the EU regulation that a few years ago abolished roaming charges for EU mobile phone users while travelling within the EU. Last 24 Feb 2021 the European Commission proposed to extend this regulation – due to end in 2022 – for additional 10 years. Although EU clients have smaller data allowance abroad than in their own country, the cancelation of mobile roaming charges encountered the favour of all citizens that travel in the European Union on either business or leisure.
The EE’s move aims to reinstate roaming charges as of Jan 2022 for new customers joining EE after 07 July 2021. Although for the time being their competitors don’t intend to apply these charges, this is a sign of the UK becoming an unwelcoming country. At present, due to the Covid-19 pandemics, people that enter the UK (no matter be they UK or EU residents) must stay in self-isolation for 10 days, paying with their own money PCR tests, and this rule includes also those people who already received two vaccination jabs…
Despite there is high concern in the UK about the Covid-19 delta variant outburst, this rule is going to destroy the touristic season and, on top of it, highly limit any business venture that professionals or companies would like to explore in the UK.
Last but not least, the 30 June 2021 is the last opportunity for EU residents in the UK to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and, if granted, continue living in the UK with the same rights as before Brexit happened, including being free of getting in and out of the country without any problem, which is essential for businessmen/women. It seems that many people haven’t yet requested it and they run the serious risk of being kicked out of the country.
The feeling is the UK is going backward on the time axis and chooses to self-isolate right when there are many challenges that need common efforts to be shared to win against climate change issues, which implies the radical conversion of the current economy and industry such as pandemics that, as we know, hasn’t been solve yet; enhancement of sustainable transport such as relaunching train services across major network backbones in Europe and vehicles electrification; promoting biological agriculture, etc.
The decision of abandoning the participation in the ErasmusPlus 2021-2027 scheme will also make the UK poorer of young talents that will choose one of the other 27 EU countries to spend some time abroad where, maybe, they will decide to stay and build their own professional future.
It is a pity to see the way my generation (born in the 1960s) grew up looking to England and the UK as one of the most promising areas in Europe to study and work and now, due to Brexit, in little time this way has radically changed and many young students are looking elsewhere to build their future.
EPN Consulting Founder & CEO