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  #1  
Old 6 Jul 2010
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Not sure how I feel about this.

I heard on the radio today that France are either passing or hoping to pass a law that means that if a citizen decides to travel to an area deemed dangerous by the government and the government subsequently need to bail them out of trouble, repariate or rescue them, then those individuals could come back and find that they are handed a bill for the expenses incurred.

On the one side I can see their point of view:
it's tax-payers money that is potentially being spent on getting a person out of a sticky situation that they willingly exposed themselves to.

On the other hand it potentially sets a precedent whereby a state could influence which places citizens can visit with a threat of fines should something go wrong, even if common sense dicates that their should be no problems...

Seems inoccuous enough at present but once in place this kind of law could make travelling a lot harder: no insurance etc...

Personally, if this were to be in effect, I'd prefer a simple disclaimer whereby a traveller agrees to pay a nominal fee (€5000?) should somehting go very wrong: big enough to dissuade silliness, small enough not to make travel an overly elitist pursuit.

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  #2  
Old 6 Jul 2010
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The UK government pays jack sh!t for any of it's citizens anywhere, so I don't worry, I just go. I find it more important to read the small print on my travel insurance policy. Often they don't cover stuff either, especially if you go to places on the my government's FCO no go list.

People need to make their own decision whether to be insured or not.
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  #3  
Old 7 Jul 2010
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seems to me the government shouldnt be bailing people out if they went willingly somewhere that is known to be a dangerous area/zone or is on their "find anothre place to go this place=trouble" list.
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  #4  
Old 7 Jul 2010
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I've never needed, wanted or expected government assistance of any form in my travels so for me it really doesn't make any difference.
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  #5  
Old 7 Jul 2010
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Really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post
I've never needed, wanted or expected government assistance of any form in my travels so for me it really doesn't make any difference.
Have you ever been in jail in a foreign country? Ever been fooked up so bad you've couldn't move without shitting yourself? Ever been Dead in a foreign country? Who takes care of you? Who even knows your dead? Or alive?

Sadly, in this regard the USA is like the UK. Under only rare circumstances will US State Dept. step up to help ... and would most likely bill you for getting you out. Nothing new there.

Nowadays with the Bush/Cheney invented Homeland Gestapo, you can end up on a
"No Fly" list just for visiting certain countries. And here's the kicker: You can't even find out if you're on said "list" or do anything to plead your case or get off the list. "No Fly" means essentially they bring in the FBI and hold you as long as they like anytime you attempt to board a plane or cross a border. Welcome to America. Land of the Free.

I'm hoping Obama can eventually reverse some of these despicable Bush/Cheney policies implemented to spread fear on a so-called "war on terror", while suspending basic constitutional rights.

The sad fact is, there are too many idiots getting into situations they have no business in. This is no doubt the reason the French are instituting this policy. Truly stupid and reckless, irresponsible people should pay their way out, IMHO.

But if someone is in jail on some BS charge (very common) or in hospital somewhere from an accident, or a political prisoner, then this, to me, is when your home Govt. should step up and do the right thing. Re-patriate free of charge. Of course all has to be on a case by case basis. Drug dealer? ah, sorry.

Having dealt with dead bodies in Bolivia and jailed folks in Colombia and Argentina, I can tell you that help from US State Dept. officials was welcomed.

But don't ever count on the US to help you out unless you have certain connections. Be careful out there folks.
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  #6  
Old 7 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris View Post
The UK government pays jack sh!t for any of it's citizens anywhere, so I don't worry, I just go. I find it more important to read the small print on my travel insurance policy. Often they don't cover stuff either, especially if you go to places on the my government's FCO no go list.

People need to make their own decision whether to be insured or not.
Chris
Hey Chris - I think you will be surprised what the government pays for you. I know of at least one biker who had to use them to get himself untangled form a mess where he was stuck between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan without a visa for either, and bridges burnt with all the border staff. The British consultant bent over backwards to help. Don't be so quick to rule them out .....
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  #7  
Old 7 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CornishDeity View Post
Hey Chris - I think you will be surprised what the government pays for you. I know of at least one biker who had to use them to get himself untangled form a mess where he was stuck between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan without a visa for either, and bridges burnt with all the border staff. The British consultant bent over backwards to help. Don't be so quick to rule them out .....
I am surprised. All the annecdotal evidence I've heard says the opposite. Maybe it's the rule, maybe the exception that proves the rule.

A little while ago, I personally found the British Consul in Manaus, Brazil to be very helpful. It didn't cost him or the UK government any money (maybe the fuel in his moped; counteracted by the cost of the coffee I bought him...), but he did sign a stupid customs form that got the Brasilia Aduana off my case.

Hope your trip is going well. News from home: Cuts in schools, NHS, public sector jobs, pensions etc... There's no money for anything. The UK is unofficially as bankrupt as Greece, Spain and Portugal. So even less chance of paying money for "stuck" UK citizens overseas.

cheers
Chris
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  #8  
Old 7 Jul 2010
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The overseas embassy staff are there to deal government to government. You can understand that in certain places they are going to get hacked off with drunken idiots getting arrested. Local consuls are like the country village police versus the flying squad, they do have more time for this stuff. It's like calling the Fire Brigade because you've run out of to expect the Beijing embassy to get your stuff out of customs. What they should do IMHO is put a page in every passport they issue saying exactly how to contact them and what they will and won't do. People may then decide they cost too much, but that's another matter.

Andy
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  #9  
Old 7 Jul 2010
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Simply put, I don't believe taxpayer money should be used to extricate someone from a clearly dangerous place, ie war zone, etc. We're independent travellers and we know or ought to know the risks.

Yes, there is the potential for arbitrary expansion of such a policy but that isn't sufficient reason to not have the policy. Otherwise all policies and laws could come under the same doubts.

Since this, for now, only applies to "officially dangerous" places I wouldn't have a problem with it. I don't expect the Canadian taxpayer to pay for my extrication from clearly dangerous areas and I can see why France wouldn't want to either. Of course, the tricky part is what's considered "dangerous"? And what if an extrication is necessary from a "dangerous" area but the reason has nothing to do with why the region was deemed "dangerous"?... so nothing's perfect.

It's all about taking personal responsibility and I wish we could apply that to other areas of society as well.
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  #10  
Old 7 Jul 2010
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Yet they will spend millions and millions to extract sailors from dangerous places every year, even non commercial ones who get into trouble and ignore all warnings.
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  #11  
Old 8 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey D View Post
Ever been Dead in a foreign country? folks.
I don't think you're going to find anyone on this, or any other forum, who's going to answer yes to that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey D View Post
Have you ever been in jail in a foreign country? Ever been fooked up so bad you've couldn't move without shitting yourself? Ever been Dead in a foreign country? Who takes care of you? Who even knows your dead? Or alive?

Sadly, in this regard the USA is like the UK. Under only rare circumstances will US State Dept. step up to help ... and would most likely bill you for getting you out. Nothing new there.

But if someone is in jail on some BS charge (very common) or in hospital somewhere from an accident, or a political prisoner, then this, to me, is when your home Govt. should step up and do the right thing. Re-patriate free of charge. Of course all has to be on a case by case basis. Drug dealer? ah, sorry.

Having dealt with dead bodies in Bolivia and jailed folks in Colombia and Argentina, I can tell you that help from US State Dept. officials was welcomed.

But don't ever count on the US to help you out unless you have certain connections. Be careful out there folks.
Mate, I've been riding bikes around the globe for over 35 years and come up against all sorts of crap - slept in a jail in Tanzania, been caught in war zones, been so sick that I coudln't move a metre away from a toilet bowl for days on end.

It's my responsibility - it's my decision to go there and take those risks, and I go there with the full knowledge that I alone have to face, and accept, the consequences of the decisions I make. I have no expectation that the government or anybody else is going to help me out of these situations - anyone who does is either a fool or severely naive. If someone can help then well and good, but whatever you do don't expect or depend upon it.

At the end of the day Mickey, the only statement that counts is your last sentence - but substitute 'your government' for 'the US' because this should apply to all travellers wherever they hail from.
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  #12  
Old 8 Jul 2010
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Govt should repatriate for free if sick????? Bollocks - that's what your insurance is for. Didn't bother with insurance? - bad luck son.
Consular assistance is for very specific issues e.g. jailed in foreign country, lost passport. That's it.
Does anyone really, honestly think that their governments give a shit about their citizens? You do? - wake up and smell the coffee.
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  #13  
Old 8 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docsherlock View Post
Govt should repatriate for free if sick????? Bollocks - that's what your insurance is for. Didn't bother with insurance? - bad luck son.
Consular assistance is for very specific issues e.g. jailed in foreign country, lost passport. That's it.
Does anyone really, honestly think that their governments give a shit about their citizens? You do? - wake up and smell the coffee.
They sure do, when its time to pay your taxes. outside your tax dollars, for all they care, you and I can go fornicate with ourselves.
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  #14  
Old 8 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
I heard on the radio today that France are either passing or hoping to pass a law that means that if a citizen decides to travel to an area deemed dangerous by the government and the government subsequently need to bail them out of trouble, repariate or rescue them, then those individuals could come back and find that they are handed a bill for the expenses incurred.

Also Italian government is seriously meant to have this law approved...
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  #15  
Old 8 Jul 2010
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Yet they will spend millions and millions to extract sailors from dangerous places every year, even non commercial ones who get into trouble and ignore all warnings.
That's a hole they've dug for themselves, but it has good as well as bad bits. The RNLI remember is a charity, so the little orange boat on the telly is paid for by the sailing community, fishing community and others who care. No government cash except tax relief. The RAF/RN/HMCG rescue organisation is there to fish the military out. In peace we don't want blokes we've paid thousands to train drowning, in war they find it easier to do their jobs if they know help will come. We don't want fighter pilots throwing sickies when the sea looks a bit too choppy for a swim. Getting the dafter sort of yatchsman to safety keeps the helicopter and anti-submarine crews used to looking for small things in a big sea. The RN also has a territorial role to play. We don't want French (or anyone elses) Frigates hanging about uninvited in the Thames on the excuse of looking for a clown last seen on a Lilo heading for Calais. Different IMHO to guys who ate the wrong kebab in Marakesh.

Andy
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