UK’s Sunak wants EU deal on passport checks to ease delays – Bloomberg News

(Reuters) -Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wants to make a deal with the European Union to make it easier for Britons to travel to the bloc, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Sunak is hoping to build on improved relations with the EU to reach an agreement to let Britons use EU e-gates for passport checks, which would speed up border crossings, the report said.

Sunak’s spokesman, however, said he did not recognise the reporting that the prime minister was pushing for greater access.

“As far as I’m aware there are no live discussions to that end, but of course we will always want to find ways to minimise unnecessary waiting times for British nationals,” he said.

A formal approach has not yet been made, but diplomats were raising the issue informally, Bloomberg reported, citing a British official.

In February, Britain reached an agreement with the European Union over trading arrangements for Northern Ireland, which has remained subject to EU rules since Brexit due to its open border with Ireland.

Under EU plans due to be implemented in 2024, citizens from the UK and other so-called “third-country” nationals could have their biometric data taken to obtain a visa waiver, but the British government is worried this will not end delays and is looking for full access to the bloc’s e-gates, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

(Reporting by Urvi Dugar in Bengaluru and Kylie MacLellan in London; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Andrew Heavens and Alex Richardson)