So What Has Europe Ever Done for You? the Debate about the EU Has Centred on Immigration, However Being in the Union Is Also about Rights Even If Most of Us Are Unaware of What These Are. Linda Whitney and Niki Chesworth Offer Some Enlightenment

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 3, 2014 | Go to article overview

So What Has Europe Ever Done for You? the Debate about the EU Has Centred on Immigration, However Being in the Union Is Also about Rights Even If Most of Us Are Unaware of What These Are. Linda Whitney and Niki Chesworth Offer Some Enlightenment


Byline: Linda Whitney and Niki Chesworth

A cap on mobile roaming charges Thanks to the EU Roaming Regulation, in force since 2007, when you travel across Europe your mobile phone bill is much lower. The maximum an operator can charge is [euro]0.24 (roughly 20p) a minute for outgoing calls, [euro]0.07 for incoming calls and [euro]0.08 for texts (less than 7p) and [euro]0.45 (37p) a megabyte for online data. Rates will drop further from July 2014.

The limits apply automatically unless you have opted for a specific service or package. The volume of data you can download is also capped at [euro]50 (roughly PS41), unless you have an agreement with your operator, and you are warned when you reach 80 per cent of your limit.

British student Cemre Senol, 20, was relieved to hear that an EU-wide cap on mobile roaming charges means he cannot accidentally run up big bills while abroad. "Once I was charged PS180 for a mobile phone call I received while I was abroad," he says. "The phone was on my mum's account and she was furious. The EU cap means I won't worry about the charges so much and I may not bother getting a new SIM card for each country when I travel."

Compensation and food when flights are delayed or cancelled This is a right very few of us realise we have. If your flight is delayed, cancelled or you are "bumped" because of overbooking you may be able to claim up to [euro]600 (roughly PS490), yet only 2 per cent of people who can claim do so.

EU Regulation 261/2004 gives you a right to compensation, reimbursement or re-routing and "care" such as food or accommodation while delayed, if you arrive at your destination more than three hours late. It applies to all flights leaving or arriving at an EU airport with an EU airline.

Compensation depends on the distance and length of delay and claims can be backdated for up to six years.

Antony and Samantha Goldman from Muswell Hill, their children Zak, 14, Daisy, 12, and her friend Gracie Bolt, 12, were delayed by over three hours on a flight back from Malta last year. "The airline did not apologise and when I wrote to ask for compensation it refused even after I wrote to the chief executive," says Antony'. He researched his rights on the net and called in flight delay compensation specialists Bott Aviation. The airline settled out of court, and the group received PS178 each.

"It was not about the money I just wanted them to recognise our rights," adds Antony, who says he will vote in the May EU election. "One of the fringe benefits of the EU is that it holds companies to account."

If you have suffered a similar delay check if you can claim at bottonline.co.uk/aviation/flight-compensationclaims-form JOIN THE DEBATE AND HAVE YOUR SAY Got an opinion about the EU? Then make it count. You can have a say and influence opinion by tweeting, posting and voting. To join in the EU Cititzens' Dialogue event on February 10 in London and help shape the future of Europe either: Register at talkeurope.eventbrite.co.uk Follow and participate in the event on Twitter: hashtag #EUDEB8 Find out more at http://ec. europa.eu/debate-future-europe/ index_en.htm The right to study in Europe possibly for free As an EU citizen you can study at any EU university and could save thousands of pounds in fees.

In Denmark tuition is free, while in Holland fees are about PS1,500 a year. The UK does not fund fees at overseas universities but if you are liable to pay full tuition fees in the UK, it could be cheaper to study in another EU state.

Oliver Mackie, 20, is studying veterinary medicine at Szent Istvan University in Hungary. "I knew I had a right to study in the EU," he says, "so as well as applying for UK universities I researched those abroad. I found out more from QS (qsnetwork.com), a company that runs worldwide university information events, which helped.

"The fees are lower than in the UK and so is the cost of living. …

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