words Al Woods
Britain may have formally left the European Union and its institutions, but that doesn’t mean we’re out in the cold just yet. The UK has entered what has been called the ‘Transition Period’, in which the country and its citizens are still bound to EU law, and enjoy the same rights and protections as any other EU citizen.
The transition period is formally due to conclude on December 30 of this year. However, recent global turmoil has meant that this date will almost certainly be extended. During this time, there are a number of helpful EU laws and rights that you can still take advantage of that you may not be able to access after the transition period ends. Here are some of the most important ones.
1. Generous Compensation for Cancelled or Delayed Flights
If you have been subject to any of the recent travel chaos, it should help to know that your EU membership grants you more vigorous protections and compensation than what is offered by the UK’s ATOL scheme. According to the Germany-based company Flightright, which helps UK consumers navigate EU flight delay compensation laws via their online platform, you are entitled to automatic compensation of up to €600 for any flight that has been delayed by four hours or more for any one of a set of given circumstances. If you have had any flight disruption in recent months, now is the time to look into this.
2. Work, Live and Study Freely in Another EU Country
This is probably the biggest one that you can still take advantage of. Until 2021 at least, UK citizens are entitled to move to any EU country to live, work or study, without needing a visa or an application of any kind. Since anyone who takes advantage of this right before the transition period ends will also be able to stay in their EU country of choice after, now might be the time to consider that big move you always dreamed of.
3. Free-of-Charge Roaming Across Europe
If you find yourself in any other EU country and are using a UK SIM card, then you still do not have to worry about being charged eye-watering fees. The EU’s Roam-Like-At-Home (RLAH) Directive means that you cannot be charged any additional sums for using your mobile phone for calls, texts and data in another EU country. This measure is almost certainly likely to no longer apply to UK SIM card users in 2021, so take advantage while you can.
4. Rigorous Data Protection
If you worked in any office during 2018, you’ll likely remember the panic that was caused by companies attempting to become GDPR compliant before the EU’s deadline. However, annoying though it may be, the EU’s data protection regulations offer a lot of protection to British consumers. Under GDPR, companies cannot track your browsing and bombard you with targeted messages without your consent, and all entities must delete any data they have on you at your request. Tech companies like Google have already said that UK users will lose GDPR protections in 2021, so enjoy your privacy and peace while you still can!
These are just a few of the EU laws that you can benefit from while the UK still belongs to the European Economic Area. Similar laws may be brought in afterward, but that all depends on how negotiations go.