back to article UK.gov urged to ensure punters can 'still roam like at home' after Brexit

Consumer charity Which? has called on the UK government to ensure consumers will continue to "roam like at home" while abroad in the European Union after Britain's withdrawal from the bloc. The EU regulation on roaming came into force in 2017, allowing folk to use their mobile when travelling in the EU and pay domestic prices …

  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Oink, oink, flap, flap.

    Negotiations? But HMG simply says what will happen and it happens. Negotiations may mean having to rub out red lines.

    You want cheap roaming? As for so many hundreds of other things, stay in the EU.

    And one other problem I noticed today, which I'm sure isn't at the top of Maybot's ToDo list - what is the status of UK businesses that have registered and are using .eu domains - which are only available to EU and EEA entities. Will we lose them?

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

      And one other problem I noticed today, which I'm sure isn't at the top of Maybot's ToDo list - what is the status of UK businesses that have registered and are using .eu domains - which are only available to EU and EEA entities. Will we lose them?

      At a guess, businesses using them will be able to continue doing so until they are due to expire. Come renewal time, if the country doesn't collectively come to its senses and we are no longer part of the EU at that point, I would expect the registrar to not renew them if those businesses do not have a base of operations in the EU.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

        Register them with an EU based company - I doubt whether anyone will check origins - for a while anyway.

    2. Chris Miller

      Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

      That's strange, my mobile provider allowed me to 'roam like at home' long before any grandstanding from the EU, and continues to do so in many countries outside the EU as well. How is that even possible without the EU to organise everything? Must be a miracle, I guess.

      But of course, it was my free choice to adopt a tariff which gave me these abilities. By requiring all contracts to cover EU roaming, the EU is effectively forcing those who stay at home to subsidise those who travel a lot - whether for business or pleasure. Odd, isn't it?

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

        By requiring all contracts to cover EU roaming, the EU is effectively increasing charges for those who stay at home and subsidising those who travel a lot

        It all depends on whether a telco actually has any real costs (other than reduced capacity) when they allow another telco to use their network.

        Previously, there were 'termination charges' which were passed onto the user, essentially making extra money for the telcos. However, if telco A charges telco B X amount for roaming users in a month, and telco B charges the same amount back to telco A for its roaming users, then both telcos are absorbing the same costs in increased capacity use, whilst at the same time saving costs by the reduced capacity use, and it all evens out to nothing.

        In other words, no customer is subsidising another, unless the telcos get greedy like they were before the EU put a stop to it.

        Caveat - this favours large telcos over smaller ones, as the smaller ones will have to support proportionately more roaming users. Given that all mobile telcos seem to be massive nation-wide or multinational entities, this is probably not a concern.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

        That's strange, my mobile provider allowed me to 'roam like at home' long before any grandstanding from the EU

        Grandstanding? The EU launched an investigation into collusion over roaming charges about 2002 and quickly came to the conclusion that they were profiteering and should be scrapped. It was national governments, including the UKs, that lobbied against this. Without the investigation and the pressure then wholesale prices would never have fallen enough for providers to be able to offer you the kind of deal you have.

        Here's some sand for you to stick your head in.

        1. Chris Miller

          Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

          I see there are plenty of true believers in the magic free Internet theory still kicking around. They should surely set up their own telcos, since they 'just know' that all these things can be done for free, without any cost to the end users. Massive profits surely await them, since it's just evil capitalists that require payment for usage of their systems.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

        @Chris Miller: I’m very sorry that you just don’t get it. Many people in the EU cross borders frequently (or might connect to a cell in a neighbouring country inadvertently) just while going about their daily professional or personal lives, let alone for longer business trips or holidays. Even in the sadly too insular UK this is a common occurrence between the two countries on the island of Ireland.

        So it’s not pointless grandstanding by the EU, but a very practical step towards closer cooperation and integration that most mobile networks had no intention of providing voluntarily by themselves (apart from a small number of smaller newer networks using this as a shorter term selling point to try to build up market share).

    3. smudge Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

      As for so many hundreds of other things, stay in the EU.

      Too right. Today it's roaming charges and air traffic control. Tomorrow it could be nuclear medicines and fishing rights. The day after, security co-operation and reciprocal social security and pension rights.

      A myriad detailed topics to be negotiated, and so far all we've done so far is establish that we could always have had blue passports anyway.

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

        A myriad detailed topics to be negotiated, and so far all we've done so far is establish that we could always have had blue passports anyway.

        Not entirely true - The EU has agreed to divvy-up tariff-free quotas post-brexit exactly how we wanted.

        It's America, commonwealth countries, others, mostly those we intend to seek 'deep and meaningful free trade agreements with', who are opposing and protesting that agreement.

        You have to laugh or you'd cry.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

        reciprocal social security and pension rights.

        Those, at least, are not an EU issue. As with so many things, it's important to distinguish between what the EU requires and what it enables. True, the EU requires its members to have arrangements in place, but this isn't something which only exists because of the EU. The UK has reciprocal social security and pension agreements with many non-EU countries and it would be logical for it to maintain existing agreements with EU members, since both sides would lose if it didn't. Being an EU member isn't a prerequisite for it.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

          "it would be logical for it to maintain existing agreements"

          Is that a polite way of saying that there's no way it'll ever happen?

    4. TheMeerkat

      Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

      Three provided free roaming in many countries without EU and this includes the USA. We don’t need Brussels for this.

    5. Dave 15

      Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

      We can remain in the EU suffering the indignity of spending billions to import their goods while they ignore ours, or we can decide that we want to trade properly and sensibly. IF the EU and the telephone companies decide to be stupid then it is simple, nationalise their UK branches and charge them 10 times what they charge us.

      Stop being soft and grow a spine, same for all the other crud I see floating around at the moment.... like moving headquarters and jobs out of the UK, if anyone tries this they lose their whole UK operation to nationalisation with ZERO compensation

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Oink, oink, flap, flap.

        > like moving headquarters and jobs out of the UK, if anyone tries this they lose their whole UK operation to nationalisation with ZERO compensation

        So remind me, what does Unilever UK have that will enable it to be nationalised and continue as a business that exports stuff? Remember the 'UK' brands are simply brands, soon to be owned by a Dutch HQ'd company, production is highly mobile...

  2. GlenP Silver badge

    Mobile operators had to absorb huge costs

    More like they had to pass on the costs in other ways. Roaming in Europe may be free but without bolt-ons added to the account calls from the UK to Europe have rocketed in price. It's costing us as a company at least £100/month plus the time to manage bolt-ons and data allowances (as we're using VOIP where possible).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So I am led to believe that these operators that operate in the EU and the UK will pass up on the chance to charge both sets of customers more money on roaming?

    I will believe this when the method of travel is flying pig.

    1. Zippy's Sausage Factory
      Meh

      Given the difficulty we've had here in Portugal getting the three main operators to abide by it when we're not leaving the EU, I doubt that there's much hope for the current roaming plans to continue even a single second after the Brexit date.

      I could be wrong, but I'm guessing the networks like money more than they like good PR, especially when they can blame a price hike on the government and "the will of the people"...

      Cynical, moi? Youbetcha...

      1. Graham Dawson

        Three already has their at-home roaming package to a whole bunch of destinations outside the eu. It's one of their USPs, one i found particularly handy when visiting the us. I doubt they'll change out post brexit.

        Can't certainly say that for the others, but i suspect they love having customers more than anything else.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Can't certainly say that for the others, but i suspect they love having customers more than anything else.

          Who'll leave if they all introduce "necessary charges"?

  4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Cake, lovely cake...

    Cake, lovely cake... Have cake... Eat cake...

  5. codejunky Silver badge

    Ha

    You have to be joking. The negotiations have yet again come to another stop as the EU again attempts to dictate a border in Ireland and demand we pay for it (think Trumps wall). For a trade negotiation political entity it so far has had the easiest trade negotiation going (we already comply with their standards and want frictionless trade) and seem to be royally screwing it up with their amusing but fantasy demands. Then they stomp their feet that we wont just give in, negotiate some more then rinse and repeat.

    This isnt a negotiation. A negotiation has at least 2 willing parts working to a common goal. The EU is making demands and if they dont negotiate we owe them nothing. They can shove off and if they want a border make their own.

    To again take its ideas from Trump it looks like the EU wants to be poorer. Trump decides he wants to start a trade war by increasing tariffs making Americans poorer, an action he seems to be being slated for. Yet the EU in a moment of genius have decided that if Trump is going to make the US poorer the EU will respond in kind and make EU members poorer with their own tariffs. I like the analogy of them choosing to throw rocks in their own harbour so choosing to throw rocks in our own harbour. Looks like we are getting out at the right time.

    1. Joe Werner
      WTF?

      Re: Ha

      Sorry: no customs union means custom control, means a border. Simple, innit? Where that is implemented is up to the UK. It might be at the Irish border, it might be between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK (which is from a logistics point of view much simpler), but somewhere the UK (and the EU) have to make sure that stuff and people coming in and out can be controlled. Wasn't that the sales point? "Taking back control of your borders"?

      No, I don't like it. Nobody likes it. But that's the way it is.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @ Joe Werner

        "Sorry: no customs union means custom control, means a border. Simple, innit?"

        Sure is. Neither side of Ireland want a border, the land doesnt lend itself to being bordered (unless we look at a Berlin wall suggestion, the UK wants frictionless trade... its real simple. Its not our problem. A simple trade deal allowing Ireland to get along fine could be made, if the EU was willing. So its the EU's problem.

        "Wasn't that the sales point? "Taking back control of your borders"?"

        Actually I love this as the sales pitch because as I said- Ireland border isnt our problem. We dont want one so exercising our control of our borders we dont need to make one (or we could lie which is also a good approach). The EU is also in charge of their own borders and if they wish to make one there is nothing we can do about it. Ireland can be divided by the EU if the EU want.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: Ha

          Actually I love this as the sales pitch because as I said- Ireland border isnt our problem. We dont want one so exercising our control of our borders we dont need to make one (or we could lie which is also a good approach). The EU is also in charge of their own borders and if they wish to make one there is nothing we can do about it. Ireland can be divided by the EU if the EU want.

          Well, apparently we do want one, as we don't want to be in the customs union. So are we happy for things to keep coming in from Europe uncontrolled, and do we expect them to put up with the same from us? If the answer to both of those questions is yes then why are we leaving the customs union?* If the answer to either or both is no then customs checks are part of the deal, and customs checks without a hard border are a legal fiction.

          * "So we can go out and form our own trade deals", except that's meaningless for both parties if goods are still moving freely. Outsiders would look at us and say "what's to stop German cars coming via Britain / British steel coming via Germany", and similarly for us bringing in stuff tariff free and then moving it to the customs union.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Ha

            @ ibmalone

            "Well, apparently we do want one, as we don't want to be in the customs union."

            That seems to be a failure of simple logic. Please reread my post. We dont want to be in the political entity of the EU. The rest isnt our problem if we dont want it to be. The EU seem the only party wanting a border, so they can own that problem.

            "So are we happy for things to keep coming in from Europe uncontrolled, and do we expect them to put up with the same from us?"

            Do we care? Actually if there is no border Ireland will be in an envious position of being in and out of the EU gaining the benefits of both. I doubt the EU could tolerate it for long so its in their interests to figure out some acceptable trade deal.

            "If the answer to both of those questions is yes then why are we leaving the customs union"

            We are leaving the EU. This is not a trade block or common market this is an interfering political union with its own designs on its own future that do not match ours. The fact that it all comes as one big package means we are leaving because we finally got a choice on EU membership and vote leave. Apparently the president of France expects the French would do the same given the choice. Be proud, we are leading with democracy.

            "* "So we can go out and form our own trade deals", except that's meaningless for both parties if goods are still moving freely"

            Actually no. We do not have control over our own trade tariffs while in the EU. That changes when out of the EU regardless of goods moving freely. We cannot make our own trade deals while in the EU. That changes when out of the EU regardless of goods moving freely. The gov has already stated it wants frictionless trade and so leaving the EU for those advantages + goods moving freely sounds like better than we could have expected.

            "what's to stop German cars coming via Britain / British steel coming via Germany"

            Why are we wanting to stop this? The EU does but the UK doesnt. The UK just wants to be free of the EU interference and restrictions. Getting out and doing that again would be a win. Remember the EU wanted to stop Chinese steel from entering using high tariffs, the UK disagreed with that because it makes us poorer to ramp up tariffs. See Trump/EU trade war posturing.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Ha

      The negotiations have yet again come to another stop as the EU again attempts to dictate a border in Ireland and demand we pay for it (think Trumps wall)

      Meanwhile, in the real world, where the Good Friday Agreement, to which we are legal signatories, dictates that there is no hard border on the Island of Ireland, brexit negotiations have come to a halt because UK politicians continue to demand a land of magical unicorns where they think they can dictate that the other 27 EU states abandon the basic principles behind the internal market. Which they clearly aren't going to do.

      Brexidiot.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @ Loyal Commenter

        "Meanwhile, in the real world, where the Good Friday Agreement, to which we are legal signatories, dictates that there is no hard border on the Island of Ireland"

        Awesome. So go tell the EU. Read my previous post, it sums this problem up beautifully.

        "brexit negotiations have come to a halt because UK politicians continue to demand a land of magical unicorns where they think they can dictate that the other 27 EU states"

        The demands so far have been money, Irish border and sovereignty invading rights for their court and all of those came from the EU. The UK handed over article 50. So yes someone wants unicorns but so far it isnt us.

        "Which they clearly aren't going to do."

        This I agree with you on. I cannot imagine the EU pulling itself together to get a coherent clue over what they want to do in time for brexit. My view on that is to wave goodbye to the EU and get on doing something worth our time. However if somehow this gov pulls it off (and I dont have much faith in that) and gets the EU to actually negotiate then I will be impressed. But so far I dont credit the EU with that level of competence.

        "Brexidiot"

        Is this the new eurosceptic? Please tell me there is a new insult. It was so funny last time when we were called eurosceptics for not wanting to join the Euro and then when we were proved right that word seemed to vanish, along with the those so certain they were right. Oh those were the days

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Ha

          The demands so far have been money, Irish border and sovereignty invading rights for their court and all of those came from the EU. The UK handed over article 50. So yes someone wants unicorns but so far it isnt us.

          The 'demand' for money, is for the amounts we have already committed to the EU budget until 2020. Well, actually, for less than that.

          The analogy is going to a restaurant with a group of people, agreeing to split the bill, ordering all the most expensive stuff on the menu and then deciding you don't actually want to eat and you are going to leave without paying because you saw another restaurant down the road you prefer the look of. Later, you act all surprised when nobody wants to go to a restaurant with you and you are left sat in the street eating a Greggs pasty on a bench.

          The Irish Border issue is not a demand from the EU, it is a treaty obligation. The GFA had overwhelming support from everyone across Ireland (much greater than a 52/48 split based on misinformation). There is a trend towards trying to blame the EU for the consequences of brexit; you voted for it, it's your fault.

          Sovereignty - we never 'lost' it. That entire argument is an attempt to sway people's opinions based on nebulous 'hearts and minds' bullshit. It might work on Daily Express readers, but it doesn't wash with anyone who possesses an ounce of brain power.

          The EU wants its citizens to retain their rights, which are administered by the ECJ. May has drawn an imaginary 'red line' and said she doesn't want the UK to be under the ECJ in any way. That is sheer idiocy on her part; some sort of supranational body is always going to be required to ensure treaty obligations are observed. The EU isn't going to accept that the rights of its citizens be administered by a UK court, any more that we would accept the rights of UK citizens being administered by the courts of a foreign power. None of this is 'sovereignty invading' from the EU, and to suggest it is is the worst sort of propagandist hyperbole.

          You are clearly an erudite individual, and your insistence on arguing your same points indicates that either you genuinely believe that brexit is a good thing for the country, despite the fact that none of the well-prepared arguments for it stand up to scrutiny, or that you believe it will be good for you personally. This suggests that either you are an idiot who has fallen for all the propaganda coming from those with clear vested interests (such as Farage, Dacre, Putin, et al), or you are one of that group, so maybe you are not one of the idiot brexiters, but in that case you are one of the group who freely uses the insulting term 'remoaner'; thus the rejoinder is 'brexidiot'. Suck it up.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Ha

            @ Loyal Commenter

            "The 'demand' for money, is for the amounts we have already committed to the EU budget until 2020. Well, actually, for less than that."

            Lets start from the absolute fact. The EU is entitled to nothing (and the UK too). We walk away with no deal the EU is entitled to squat. They dont have to like it but they are entitled to zip. That is the cold hard fact that they either accept or suffer but that is it full stop. That is why there is negotiation to leave. The EU wants to spend money, they committed an amount of money they expected us to pay, and if they want money then they need to negotiate for it. They dont have to like it but thats the reality.

            "The analogy is going to a restaurant with a group of people, agreeing to split the bill, ordering all the most expensive stuff on the menu and then deciding you don't actually want to eat and you are going to leave without paying because you saw another restaurant down the road you prefer the look of."

            Ok, but that is a bad analogy as we have been a net contributor and our contribution abused by them making agreement with our government then breaking the agreement. The EU has enjoyed our wallet all meal as they keep ordering and now we decide to get up and leave they cry we need to leave them some money for them to keep eating. Much better analogy. Far closer to the truth.

            "The Irish Border issue is not a demand from the EU"

            Then you need to recheck because your wrong. The UK has put offers forward for the EU's absolute demand for a border, offering soft bordering. A treaty allowing their trade would also be possible if the EU would agree. Except their latest demand (again) is a hard border. Or in Trumps words- put up a wall and you will pay for it. Aka we laugh, EU looks foolish and if the EU really want one they can make it.

            "Sovereignty - we never 'lost' it."

            Really? So we didnt give the EU to handle our trade deals (removing our sovereignty) or give the EU to right to make laws for us (removing our sovereignty) etc? You are wrong.

            "The EU isn't going to accept that the rights of its citizens be administered by a UK court"

            Then the EU can bend over and shove their demand somewhere it probably wont fit. The EU will have the same level of rights/powers as other foreign countries. If that isnt enough for them then they are reaching, and may want to consider negotiating. Otherwise they are like anyone else, they are not special. It is up to the citizens where they want to be not the EU.

            "You are clearly an erudite individual, and your insistence on arguing your same points indicates that either you genuinely believe that brexit is a good thing for the country"

            Thank you and I do. I dont care if the EU wants to federalise or whatever, I just dont want us to be part of what the EU is as it is which isnt very good. I honestly hope the EU fixes its massive problems for the benefit of their population but also because even outside the EU what happens in Europe will have an affect on our country, I want them to succeed as I want us to succeed. But Europe is not the EU, the EU is in multiple crises and doesnt have the support of the populations behind it. I was one of those horrible, retarded, idiot eurosceptics when we had the same debate over the Euro. I was also on the right side of that argument and the 'smart' people vanished under their self-righteous rocks. I have been here before on the unpopular side of the debate, but based on facts.

            "despite the fact that none of the well-prepared arguments for it stand up to scrutiny"

            Which one doesnt stand? I have argued this out plenty on the basis of economy, trade, sovereignty, immigration and democracy. I have factually discussed the crises of the EU/Eurozone and why it is a bad project unless it actually fixes itself. And yet you are one of many who say the arguments dont stand when all I do is prove wrong the many remain arguments that do not stand and mine have yet to be refuted. Its almost like repetition of that lie gives some solace to a lack of actual fact.

            "This suggests that either you are an idiot who has fallen for all the propaganda coming from those with clear vested interests"

            I like that someone who disagrees with you but refutes your clearly incorrect statements is an idiot. How can I seriously respond to that?

            "or you are one of that group, so maybe you are not one of the idiot brexiters"

            So the alternative to idiot because I dont agree with you is idiot because I dont agree with you. Not a lot of wiggle room there. I have had the pleasure of discussions with few remainers who have facts and reasons for wanting to be in the EU but weigh the costs/benefits very differently in their opinion. And I can disagree with them but respect their view because at least it makes sense. Yet most comments I respond to are the same repeated lies or mistakes often by the same people who seem factually deficient yet certain they are right and leavers are idiots.

            "insulting term 'remoaner'; thus the rejoinder is 'brexidiot'. Suck it up."

            I am not a fan of those terms. Brexidiot amuses me as eurosceptic did but the tribal stupidity doesnt get anywhere, discussion does. I prefer leaver/remainer although I do occasionally grit and say brexiter.

            My opinion of brexit is it is a good thing. I am not a fan of racists/xenophobes regardless of them voting remain or leave. As I have said a few times (especially when the result was in) that the outward looking remain voters should band with outward looking leave voters and ignore the racists left over. There are decisions to be made and we need to keep the gov from doing something stupid like being protectionist or racist. I would prefer not having to repeatedly correct the propaganda and mistakes but unfortunately some people are determined. I would prefer you wernt one of them because you do seem to put some effort to reasoning out your comments and aiding discussion.

    3. smudge Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Ha

      we already comply with their standards and want frictionless trade

      You've missed the bit where we have said that we will be able to diverge from their standards? Not covered by the Daily Heil / Torygraph or Brexit Bugle?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @ smudge

        "You've missed the bit where we have said that we will be able to diverge from their standards?"

        That is a good point but this is where the EU have it so easy it should be a sleepwalk. For example the trade deal they did with Canada does not require Canada to bend over and take whatever the EU feels like giving at the time. Instead it works on a wonderful system (very old system developed over centuries) of trade. To export to any country the item/service must meet the customer countries standards, and we already do. And we import to our countries standards. This works world wide and the reason the EU exists, to trade with others. So surely it should be capable of coming to the agreement of accepting to their standards and us to ours. Then the extra negotiations go on top of that (e.g. they want x, we want y).

        The country of course can diverge to our own standards which dont need to match the world (because the world is full of differing standards) and yet still the age old tradition of trade could continue.

        That the EU struggles with this is not a shining beacon of hope for their abilities.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Ha

          does not require Canada to bend over and take whatever the EU feels like giving at the time

          No but it does require that all my systems are CEmarked, meet Eu labeling, recycling and origin requirements. I have to have a notified body in the Eu and meet exactly the same requirements as a manufacturer in the Eu.

          I can't chose to "diverge" from those rules. In fact I world prefer that people converged. At the moment the USA and Eu have different sub parts of IEC60601 which is costing me a headache in buying components.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Ha

            @ Yet Another Anonymous coward

            "No but it does require that all my systems are CEmarked, meet Eu labeling, recycling and origin requirements"

            Exactly, and this is why it should be the easiest sleepwalk in history of trade deals for the EU. We already comply. Lets say we relax our standards, nothing changes with our exports to the EU. Lets say we become more restrictive, we may stop making certain things to send to the EU as we dont comply. But the only ones forced to comply with EU regs is the exporters to the EU.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Ha

          You can't leave a customs union because you want to diverge on tariffs and standards yet say you want free access to the same customs union (i.e. no border controls) which means you have to follow its tariffs and standards. Nobody has done it in the world yet because it can't be done and some magic unspecified IT system won't change the fact that it is fundamentally impossible.

          Also, you don't see any other country in the world leaving their trading bloc because they claim it prevents them from trading with countries the other side of the world.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Ha

            @ Dan 55

            "Nobody has done it in the world yet because it can't be done and some magic unspecified IT system won't change the fact that it is fundamentally impossible."

            I never said it required some fancy IT. Actually what I clearly stated was it requires only the EU (as the only party to want a border) to change its mind. A cooperative soft border of very limited effect could be put in place if it made the EU feel better but their insistence on a hard border and we will pay for it is the same as Trump saying Mexico will pay for his wall. If we dont make one the EU could choose to if it can be bothered.

            "Also, you don't see any other country in the world leaving their trading bloc because they claim it prevents them from trading with countries the other side of the world."

            True. But then those other countries are not in the EU political union which is an aim to federalisation, with a trade block feature. Apparently if you were to ask the French PM France would probably vote the same way as we did. France used to be part of that twin engine of the EU as it was called.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Ha

              I never said it required some fancy IT. Actually what I clearly stated was it requires only the EU (as the only party to want a border) to change its mind.

              The government says it requires fancy IT.

              The EU don't want a border, the fact is there must be a border otherwise goods could be imported to the UK then go over the NI border without paying the difference in tariffs or lower standard goods could be imported into the UK then go over the border and be illegal inside the EU. If you argue against that then you're arguing against logic.

              This is why the EU and the UK agreed in December that the GFA must be upheld in all circumstances, deal or no deal. If the GFA is not upheld then that would imply a border. So, the ball is in the UK's court, they have to come up with a solution which respects the GFA and means no border will have to be implemented.

              Most people believe that means no divergence from the other side of the border on the island of Ireland, and believe it doesn't mean a magic IT system as the government propose.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Ha

                @ Dan 55

                "The government says it requires fancy IT."

                The gov always want fancy IT. Thats why this site has plenty fun poking at the govs IT blunders and fails. Hell these muppets think age verification of porn sites is a clever idea.

                "The EU don't want a border"

                Then the problem is solved, they can remove their demand for a hard border (it is their demand) and either a soft border (a lie) can be agreed on or a trade agreement just for Ireland to deal with the unique situation. The EU demanding a border while the UK and both halves of Ireland dont want a border puts a dent in your statement the EU dont want one.

                "So, the ball is in the UK's court, they have to come up with a solution which respects the GFA and means no border will have to be implemented."

                No no no and no. To assume this is the UKs issue is to be wrong. Not just possibly wrong but outright wrong. It is the EU demanding a border, it is the EU's problem. Otherwise it is solved.

                1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                  Re: Ha

                  Then the problem is solved, they can remove their demand for a hard border (it is their demand) and either a soft border (a lie) can be agreed on or a trade agreement just for Ireland to deal with the unique situation. The EU demanding a border while the UK and both halves of Ireland dont want a border puts a dent in your statement the EU dont want one.

                  Of course Ireland doesn't want a border, a border means dead people. The UK says it doesn't want a border and says it doesn't want dead people either, but if that were really true it wouldn't insist at the same time on the right to set different tariffs and standards on the island of Ireland which implies a border.

                  No no no and no. To assume this is the UKs issue is to be wrong. Not just possibly wrong but outright wrong. It is the EU demanding a border, it is the EU's problem. Otherwise it is solved.

                  The British government has decided it wanted the impossible and you agree with it. You, like the British government, completely fail to address the tariff/standards divergence issue which means a border is necessary. Pretending the border is not there while there is tariff and standards divergence creates a opportunity for illegal activity and contravenes WTO rules. Neither you nor the UK government have the option of thinking happy thoughts to make a squadron of flying unicorns come and take the problem away.

                  You and the British government have to decide what you like more:

                  a) trading in the same regulatory environment on the island of Ireland (or the entire UK) or

                  b) a return of the troubles

                  That's the choice. Why don't you tell us here what you want?

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Ha

                    @ Dan 55

                    "Of course Ireland doesn't want a border, a border means dead people. The UK says it doesn't want a border and says it doesn't want dead people either, but if that were really true it wouldn't insist at the same time on the right to set different tariffs and standards"

                    2+2 != 5 redo your process. Or if you want the answer look at my previous comments where the only one wanting the border is the EU and the solutions to it. This is already answered above. Seriously just look.

                    "The British government has decided it wanted the impossible and you agree with it"

                    Leaving the EU is not impossible. It is very possible. So yes I agree with it.

                    "You, like the British government, completely fail to address the tariff/standards divergence issue which means a border is necessary"

                    I will repeat myself within the same comment- This is already answered above. Seriously just look.

                    "contravenes WTO rules."

                    Which is solved by either a soft border (a lie) or a trade agreement (requires the EU to agree).

                    "Neither you nor the UK government have the option of thinking happy thoughts to make a squadron of flying unicorns come and take the problem away."

                    I know that is why I have to repeat myself to you in the same comment.

                    "Why don't you tell us here what you want?"

                    C we offer the EU frictionless trade or a soft border (UK gov has already offered both, EU rejects them) and it is not our problem. It isnt what I want, what the gov wants nor Ireland as a whole since the options have been presented to the EU and what happens now is what the EU wants. This is the EU's problem now no matter how much crying, stamping or wailing they do. The UK has done more than it has to. If we leave and dont put up a border (no deal because the EU refuses to) then the EU will have to make its own border, man its own border, pay for its own border and suffer the consequences of its decision.

                    So which choice do you want the EU to go with?

                    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                      Re: Ha

                      Which is solved by either a soft border (a lie) or a trade agreement (requires the EU to agree).

                      This is the crux of it. The EU and Canada and the EU and Korea have a trade agreement but you've forgotten there's a hard border between them. So no, it's not solved by a trade agreement as a trade agreement would allow different tariffs and rules between the UK and EU but having no border makes a mockery of the trade agreement.

                      I don't know what "a soft border (a lie)" means but in any case there cannot be any otherwise that's a contravention of the GFA.

                      So the solution is the same regulatory environment in NI as there is in Ireland. That means either a special agreement for NI (or the whole of the UK) to mirror SM and CU rules or it means NI (or the whole of the UK) staying in the EEA/EFTA.

                      Hope you now understand.

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: Ha

                        @ Dan 55

                        "The EU and Canada and the EU and Korea have a trade agreement but you've forgotten there's a hard border between them"

                        So your saying the EU is not competent enough to accept the reality of Ireland not having any actual geographical border as the border cuts through the middle of roads/pubs/land in general? Its fine to admit that.

                        "having no border makes a mockery of the trade agreement"

                        But as you point out the GFA doesnt allow for a border and the UK is fine not having one in Ireland. So the one demanding such is the one contravening the agreement. Some people suggested the UK moving its influence back to the water and Ireland in full be under EU rules, maybe the EU would like to back off if to the water if that is their only conceivable (to them) solution? Or they can be responsible for making a border, breaking the agreement and pay for it themselves. Faced with that idea I think the EU may be capable of negotiation pretty quick.

                        "I don't know what "a soft border (a lie)" means but in any case there cannot be any otherwise that's a contravention of the GFA."

                        The soft border/lie is to claim there is a soft border. To even have checkpoints that dont really need to do much (not to do anything beyond exist really) and so it is a lie all 4 parties can be happy with. Aka no border. Except the EU wants one.

                        "That means either a special agreement for NI"

                        Bang on! You are there. Ireland want it (both parts), the UK want it too! So the EU is the problem, they need to get this sorted, they need to stop being obstructionist and instead get on with making an agreement. One that allows for effectively Ireland to be in and out of the EU and treated as a special case. Something the EU has form at doing so have no good reason not to be capable of doing now.

                        1. Roland6 Silver badge

                          Re: Ha

                          Re: A Soft Border

                          I do think Brexiteers will be rather less complacent about matters if they paused and thought about all those people wishing to cross Europe and get to the UK. Currently, the EU27 have to abide by EU rules; post-Brexit, well simply provide them passage to the soft as a ripe French Brie border...

                          1. codejunky Silver badge

                            Re: Ha

                            @ Roland6

                            "I do think Brexiteers will be rather less complacent about matters if they paused and thought about all those people wishing to cross Europe and get to the UK"

                            I am not exactly following your comment so sorry if I am not answering what you wrote. If you mean people coming here from the EU, I thought thats what remainers wanted? So under such assumption the remainers should be happy about it. As a leave voter it would be easier to border check in Britain. Since we have had the issue of Calais for many years while in the EU there doesnt seem to be much to this. People go to Ireland (from inside or outside the EU) and Ireland is treated as a special case. I think it would do wonders for Ireland.

                            With our current system we still ended up with a homeless middle eastern illegal immigrant who had been deported (at least once) for being a criminal freeze to death at waterloo station (if I remember all that right).

                            As for soft borders Germany unilaterally invited the middle east (accidentally) to move in. As a result one of the crisis of the EU was caused by a single member. The result of that action was the EU being dragged into supporting Germany by redistributing people around the EU who didnt extend such an invite. Some countries (I think Germany too?) are paying asylum seekers to go away and has increased tensions against the EU (worsening another of their crisis). The EU has form with soft borders. They also know how to bend and break their rules. And they in theory are supposed to be good at trade deals. Making an agreement over Ireland should be easy for them.

                            1. Dr_N Silver badge

                              Re: Ha

                              codejunky> As for soft borders Germany unilaterally invited the middle east (accidentally) to move in. As a result one of the crisis of the EU was caused by a single member.

                              Give it a bloody rest with your "Rampant hordes of brown folk!!!!" codejunky.

                              And FFS have you ever tried brevity when posting? You're not trying to write a thesis.

                              1. codejunky Silver badge

                                Re: Ha

                                @ Dr_N

                                "Give it a bloody rest with your "Rampant hordes of brown folk!!!!" codejunky."

                                Your racism does bother me. Or you attempt to claim I am racist so you have something to complain about. Is the only thing on your mind people coloured different to you?

                                "And FFS have you ever tried brevity when posting? You're not trying to write a thesis."

                                Sorry but when discussing on a forum I prefer to interact with people who can read. And I can only assume my posts aint long enough since you still think I am racist. I can understand why dumbing it down would make it easier for you to pull apart incomplete arguments which is probably why your complaining and sticking to the race topic only with me.

                                In brief- no I wont bring myself down to your level. Sorry.

                                1. Dr_N Silver badge

                                  Re: Ha

                                  codejunky> Is the only thing on your mind people coloured different to you?

                                  BZZZT! Wrong assumption. Try again. LOL

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ha

      You clueless muppet.

      Read this guys posts to fully understand....

      https://forums.digitalspy.com/discussion/comment/89535806#Comment_89535806

    5. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Ha

      @codejunky

      You keep getting severly downvoted.

      Brexit rules means you're meant to keep quiet after losing a vote, no? And certainly not to carry on spreading conjecture and FUD regardless.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @ Dr_N

        "You keep getting severly downvoted."

        Yep. So? If your looking for exfactor or rate my todger you may be on the wrong site.

        "Brexit rules means you're meant to keep quiet after losing a vote, no?"

        Not at all. But Which trying to push the gov for some extra agreements may look good for Which but they have no power over the negotiations (or they can go begging to the EU themselves). Trying to insist the gov does what they want is as relevant as mumsnet demanding the gov do something, who the hell are they to make demands? And I can understand the sour grapes I am sure it would be the same if the result went the other way. And so we would have to wait until the next election to vote a party to leave the EU. And you can do the same. Next election vote a party who will reapply to the EU and sign up to the full package.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Next election

          Next election vote a party who will reapply to the EU and sign up to the full package.

          Which one might that me then?

          Tories? Nope

          Labor? Not with Jeremy "I have a bottomless pit of money for everyone" Corbyn as its head.

          That leaves

          Lib Dems and the SNP....

          Good luck electing either of them.

          We are doomed I tell ye, doomed.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Next election

            Sinn Fein / SNP / Plaid Cymru coalition

            1. Andy 97

              Re: Next election

              You missed the joke icon.

    6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Ha

      The negotiations have yet again come to another stop as the EU again attempts to dictate a border in Ireland and demand we pay for it

      The UK wants to take back control its borders in order to keep those nasty immigrants out and to do this it has to leave the customs union. If it doesn't, I can imagine a nice business in running immigrants into the UK via Northern Ireland.

      The EU has merely stated the law as it stands and, in the memorandum from December, the UK agreed to this.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @ Charlie Clark

        "The UK wants to take back control its borders in order to keep those nasty immigrants out"

        Sorry but that does sound pretty racist, can you please stop pretending to speak for us all. Not everyone in the UK nor leave voters hold the view you write.

        @ Steve Davies 3

        "Which one might that me then?"

        That unfortunately is the dilemma we have been stuck with for over 20 years for any choice over the EU. Tory, Labour and Lib Dem all sang the same song and even lied to offer choice to get elected (Lab/Tory). You might dislike the choice of parties to drag us back into the EU but it would be hard to convince people anyway. If we rejoin we have to join fully which means being part of the federalisation plans and currency etc.

  6. AndyMulhearn

    Brexit wins

    Blue passports, taking back control, broken holiday flights, the return of massive roaming charges and (possibly, I'm guessing) loss of reciprocal healthcare.

    Makes me wonder why I voted remain.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Brexit wins

      (possibly, I'm guessing) loss of reciprocal healthcare.

      No, you're not guessing. You're scaremongering.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brexit wins

        >No, you're not guessing. You're scaremongering.

        I agree. This shower would be doing their best to destroy it, Brexit or not.

      2. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Brexit wins

        'when asked directly if UK citizens will be able to keep using their EHIC card he [David Davis,Brexit secretary] responded that they will "probably" lose access, adding: "Haven't looked at it."'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Brexit wins

          Of couse they'll not be covered under existing EHIC rules, thats an EU scheme for EU members.

          It doesn't in any way relate to whether other reciprocal arrangements will exit post-Brexit.

      3. AndyMulhearn

        Re: Brexit wins

        No, you're not guessing. You're scaremongering.

        Until it's signed into an agreement, any discussion about this is speculation so I fail to see how you can call mentioning the fact it may not continue as scaremongering.

        Ah, but of course anything a "remoaner" says about the downsides of brexit is scaremongering while the converse is enlightened truth. My bad.

  7. Dr_N Silver badge
    Trollface

    What part of Brexit don't they understand?

    Brexit means brexit.

    The majority of the great British public voted to get out of the EU and anything associated with it. And damn the consequences.

    Stuff is going to cost more? Boo hoo hoo. Cry me a river.

    Bed is made, time to lie in it.

    1. Joe Werner

      Re: What part of Brexit don't they understand?

      And I still don't get it: It was a non-binding referendum... called by an idiot to appease his party... and now the next idiot called early elections and lost quite a number of seats, and then one idiot who was all for leaving buggered off but now is back and.... Let's see what happens next. It is a bit like a burning train going towards a chasm, with a nuclear bomb strapped on top. If it was not such a serious subject (and I was not in the blast radius) I would just order a few beer and sit at the sidelines to enjoy the spectacle.

      It really and honestly makes me sad, for all parties involved. I can very well remember e.g. the pre-Schengen travels, and the weird borders, custom controls etc.. I have now been working in different countries in the EEA, and it is damned convenient the way it is. I have colleagues from the UK working in mainland Europe, and they are concerned. I have colleagues from other EEA countries working in the UK and they are, of course, even unhappier. Of course I am one of those people that have no home according to some... (well, I'm at home in Europe, that's how I feel)

      What I don't like about the EU is that some (well, all of them do this. All of them. Makes me despair. And mad!) governments vote for some rules and then go home and tell the population that it was the EU's fault. Dudes, you just voted for that yourselves! And having learned quite a bit about 19th and 20th century history, the last thing we want is to splinter everything up into small nations that hate each others guts. Again. This takes more effort than constant scaremongering à la "the people from (the PIIGS/ Southern Europe/ Eastern Europe/ the neighbour country/ the North) that are (coming and stealing our jobs/ want all our money/ treat us unfairly and eat all our nurses/ whatever..)". From all sides. But it is so much easier to go back to the nationalism we had pre WW-I. Great.

      Historically speaking: The EU was more or less based on the French-German treaties (notably the Elysée treaty), that were started between both countries under de Gaulle and Adenauer. They actually (as I understand the comments) did want an even deeper political union than what we have now. While this was not possible (mostly because the Brits were against it, and as part of the allied forces they could tell Germany not to do stuff), there was always that goal in the background. So, as it did not work that way, the idea was then (well, an idea at least) to achieve this through a trade union that would progressively get closer connections and a closer political union. One of the guys who pushed this theory was called Jean Jacques Monnét (not sure about the spelling, but a fitting name ;) ). From a historical point of view: The UK should never have joined, as they have always been against this process. Still: it makes me sad.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    Europe - the Next Generation

    Although not directly related to the topic it's still something which the headline triggered. Something which I cannot help but wonder about: the biggest problem with the EU, in my opinion obviously, is that we're also entering the era of the next generation so to speak.

    There are plenty of people, some may even have become El Reg readers, who grew up with the EU environment and simply don't know any better. No matter if you're in favor or against the EU I think that this bias, although quite understandable, is still something to keep in mind here. Personally I can't help wonder if this isn't something which some politicians are actually relying on in order to safeguard the whole EU structure. Well, that and taking away the options for the general public to protest (even more offtopic: in Holland the politicians are doing their best to take away our options to organize a public referendum).

    It probably also doesn't help that a seemingly growing amount of people are totally uninterested in history. I can well understand that not everyone enjoys reading up on (maybe boring) dry theory but in reality one classic saying is still very much relevant today: "People who ignores their history are doomed to repeat it..

    Maybe food for thought?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Europe - the Next Generation

      As a BB (Baby Boomer) I know the problems we had pre-EU. I can remember the £50/year limit on spending while abroad, having to get visas for a host of countries and being limited to a couple of bottles of vino on my return.

      I can also remember the issues with trying to work abroad and the joy of having to use a customs carnet when I took a Computer hard drive abroad. Yes folks, when carrying an RK05 disk drive to germany to so that it could be copied (no internet in those days) as the original had been dropped I have to get an offical customs pass.

      Want to return to having to get one for every SD card? USB Stick? Every bit of storage in your Laptop or Camera or Phone? No carnet? Then pay the EU Import Tax on the spot or lose the drive.

      Welcome to 2020 people. Enjoy the ride (or not). I'm off to Brittany at the end of the year.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Europe - the Next Generation

        I know the problems we had pre-EU. I can remember the £50/year limit on spending while abroad, having to get visas for a host of countries and being limited to a couple of bottles of vino on my return.

        That's a red herring. Those limits and visa issues were decided by the governments of the time and existed for many non-European countries, such as the US. They don't exist for EU or non-EU today, and yet we haven't had to join the US. I've regularly transferred several $K between the US and Europe via online banking, the only formalities are to declare the source for tax purposes. Certainly there are still limits, if you take more than $10K in cash into the US you'll have to declare it, but that applies within the EU as well. Put £20K in a suitcase & hop on a flight to Berlin, or drive from Spain to France, and you're likely to end up in an long interview with the drugs and/or money-laundering police. Not being in the EU need not mean a return to visas or currency controls.

        Want to return to having to get one for every SD card? USB Stick? Every bit of storage in your Laptop or Camera or Phone? No carnet? Then pay the EU Import Tax on the spot or lose the drive.

        None of which happens today when you travel to most of the 160+ countries that are not in the EU. Do you have to delare your SD card at the US border? Pay import duties on your phone when you enter Japan?

        Why assume the worst? It's almost like you'd be happy if the UK got a kicking, why? It's not helpful.

  9. TheMeerkat

    No need for the government.

    Three provided free roaming long before EU rule. And the include the USA for free. It is not for the government to make these decision, let market decide.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: No need for the government.

      >let market decide.

      Not paid attention to those El Reg commenters from the US about how that has worked out in the US with respect to DSL services, mobile charges etc. ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No need for the government.

        Not paid attention to those El Reg commenters from the US about how that has worked out in the US

        You'd prefer to have the State take more tax money and decide how to spend it on phone service for us?

  10. Mike Scott 1

    Roam like home, at home...

    Maybe WHICH should ask a more useful question.. Why not have 'roam like home' when at home in the UK, and eliminate many of the mobile not-spots that affect those with poor mobile coverage? Given that switching networks works so well for visitors to the UK, why can't is be enabled for those of us that live here? Oh yes, the networks don't want to...

  11. Andy 97

    Smoke screen.

    Unless you're someone that lives in Europe during the winter this won't affect you much.

    Long-stayers in Europe will simply obtain a local sim with data and use VOIP if they're worried about the overall cost.

  12. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

    Land borders

    A lot of blowing off hot air about borders.

    The UK is perhaps fortunate that most of our borders are sea. We have only one land border with the EU (and yes, it is a border with the EU not just Eire).

    It might be productive to look at the land borders between the EU and non-EU countries to see what is the norm.

    I do remember that in the western part of central Europe land borders were very soft back in the 1960s. If you wanted a stamp in your passport you had to ask specifically. A decade or so later you just slowed down at the border check point to indicate a willingness to stop, then speeded up again. The border checks were for lorries. So a soft border could work. No real check on small vehicles so people living either side of the border could go and work and shop on the other side. Big parking areas for articulated lorries to do the endless paperwork.

    I expect that a significant majority of the country can't remember far enough back to realise which things in daily life are part of being in the EU and which are not. Reality check incoming.

    The one thing I do agree with is being outside the Euro. Having a national economy but not being able to devalue your currency to boost exports has screwed at least Greece. Germany especially has bent and broken all sorts of rules to protect their banking industry.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Land borders

      I expect that a significant majority of the country can't remember far enough back to realise which things in daily life are part of being in the EU and which are not.

      I would guess that if you asked people to make a list of "good" and 'bad" things about the EU, most of the things on the "good" list would be the ones we've had since the Common Market, and most of the "bad" ones would be those introduced since the EU was created in 1993 and indeed, most people wouldn't know which ones came from where.

  13. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Sure we can roam. It's just going to cost us.

    Who do they think they are kidding?

    We are losing big time, financially, from Brexshit. That, at least, is a dead certainty.

    It's just a matter of whether we are going to blow a foot off, a leg off, or the head off.

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