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Travelling in the EU this summer? Thanks to Brussels, your journey has gotten easier!

01.08.2017 - Article

Using your phone on holidays without roaming charges? No border checks? No need to exchange money? Thanks to these achievements by the European Union, some 500 million EU citizens can now travel with as much ease in many parts of Europe as in their own country.

No roaming charges in Rome either: on the mobile
No roaming charges in Rome either: on the mobile© picture alliance / dpa

The EU has abolished roaming charges right in time for the start of the summer holidays. Since 15 June, making a phone call or sending a WhatsApp message from the beach no longer costs more than it does at home. Consumers can now call, text and browse the internet on their mobile for the same price as at home all over the EU. Phone companies are no longer allowed to add roaming charges to the bill.

Thanks to the EU, travel has become increasingly easy

There have been no more long waits at the borders during the holiday season since the Schengen provisions abolished checks at 22 Member States’ internal borders, as well as for travel to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Also, before the 1990s, mutual recognition of driving licences within the EU was not a matter of course. Today, this common practice enables EU citizens to drive in all Member States.

Border-free travel in the Schengen Area: established between Germany and France in 1989 (file photo)
Border-free travel in the Schengen Area: established between Germany and France in 1989 (file photo)© dpa

However, the euro, which is now legal tender in 19 EU Member States, has played the greatest role in making travel in the EU easier. Moreover, European regulations stipulate that cash withdrawal fees throughout the EU may not be higher than withdrawals from another bank in an EU resident’s home country. Thanks to standardised account information and transfer methods in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), there are now no differences between national and international transfers. Visitors can now pay for their holiday accommodation in Barcelona or Tuscany easily and without extra charges.

These great benefits spare tourists plenty of holiday-related stress. They are significant and concrete outcomes of European integration that enable us to cross national borders freely and explore Europe’s diverse landscapes and cultures hassle‑free.

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