Europeans can travel within Europe with much more freedom and flexibility than ever before. The older generations might remember frequent currency changes, shopping restrictions, endless traffic jams at border controls, tourists stranded without money, medical bills not reimbursed.... the list goes on.
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani made it clear that such problems no longer exist. Enormous progress has been made over the years: the Commission has strengthened the rights of travelers and taken numerous initiatives to support tourists. These include making travel both within and outside the EU easier, increasing passenger rights, and providing consular assistance, protection in case of holiday packages, reduced rates for roaming, medical assistance abroad, European passport for pets, and EU single emergency number (112) as well as advice on personal security and respecting the environment and local culture.
With the tourism season reaching an annual peak, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship commented: “Luckily, tourism is one sector that is almost holding its own during the crisis and has great potential for development at EU level. Europe’s common natural and cultural heritage and core values are our unique selling points. Moreover, travelling in Europe allows Europeans to clearly see the advantages of the internal market. Tourism impacts on Europe’s economic development. This is why we need to give the sector all support to ensure that Europe can keep and improve its competitive, sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism sector. I wish all Europeans relaxing holidays.”
Helping and protecting EU tourists - 10 crucial rights
• Request consular protection from any other EU country, when outside the Union and where there is no embassy/consulate of your country,
• Travel with a simple ID card and no border controls between 26 European countries i.e. between Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and all EU Member States except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom. Children now need to have their own Identity card.
• Have friends from dozen of non-EU countries travel with you during your holidays in the EU, without the need for a special visa (for under 3 months).
• Access information on your rights when travelling by air, train, boat, bus/coach (information about your journey; compensation for lost or damaged luggage; refund in case of delays, cancellations or denied boarding; non-discriminatory conditions of access and free assistance for passengers with reduced mobility …).
• Access information on your rights when buying a package holiday (information you must be provided with, binding prices, right to refund in case of cancellation or change, …; on 9 July 2013, the Commission proposed to reinforce your rights)
• Get the European Health Insurance Card giving you access to reimbursed medical care in all EU Member States as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
• Call 112, the single European emergency number, in cases of danger or emergency,
• Enjoy travelling with your dog or cat thanks to the “EU pet passport” (contact your vet).
• Enjoy cheaper tariffs when using your mobile in another EU country (since 1 July 2013, new maximum rates for "roaming")
• Enjoy Europe, the European Cultural Routes, the European cycling routes and greenways, its lesser known destinations of excellence (EDEN) in a responsible way.
For more information on your rights in 2013, call toll-free "Europe Direct" 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or go to http://europa.eu/europedirect or http://europa.eu/travel/index_en.htm