Angela Merkel’s UK travel rules defended by former MEP
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And a UK-based think tank has highlighted what it claims to be double-standards by pointing to the German Chancellor’s impending visit to the UK – and asking if she will face similar restrictions. Mrs Merkel and French President Mr Macron were frustrated last week in their attempts to impose a Europe-wide rule for everyone flying to countries in the EU27 from Britain.
However, Express.co.uk understands they are planning to use the meeting in Brussels to pressure other countries to align their rules with France and Germany, which already have quarantine restrictions for UK tourists in place, in a bid to slow the spread of the Delta variant.
Currently, all member states are free to impose their own restrictions on travellers arriving from abroad.
Speaking on Thursday, Mrs Merkel said: “In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine.
“And that’s not the case in every European country, and that is what I would like to see.”
Ms Merkel is due to visit Chequers on Friday, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson likely to urge her not to try and force through any tightened restrictions on British tourists.
A Downing Street spokesman said the pair will discuss “deepening the UK-German relationship and the global response to the coronavirus pandemic”.
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Meanwhile, Mr Macron is thought to believe if the EU does not unite behind a cohesive approach to international travel restrictions, it risks its EU green pass, a vaccine passport system permitting travel between member states.
Other EU countries, especially those which depend on tourist income, are much less keen on taking such a hardline approach.
Speaking on Friday, Greek Prime Minister Kyraikos Mitsotakis said: “Regarding the delta variant, in my intervention I said that we should not adopt a logic of new restrictions but, on the contrary, accelerate the vaccinations.”
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Conversely, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “Malta and Spain are being a bit more lenient maybe than some other member states but that is up to them, they can do that.”
Concern among EU states stems from the fact that the Delta variant, which is 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which originated in Kent, now accounts for almost all of the Covid cases in the UK.
However, the UK’s vaccine rollout has been far more successful than the EU’s, with more than 60 percent of adults having had two jabs.
Public Health England estimates that two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine affords 96 percent protection from hospitalisation.
Moreover speaking today, Prof Sir Peter Horby, head of Nervtag, the Sage sub-committee, suggested any attempts to prevent the Delta strain becoming prevalent on the Continent were doomed to fail.
He explained: “Delta will be very difficult to control and so I think we will see it spreading in Europe, unfortunately.”
The Delta strain, which emerged in India, was exported to the UK in April, at which time there were no travel restrictions in place.
With respect to Mrs Merkel’s trip, pro-Brexit think tank the Bruges Group tweeted: “Merkel will visit the UK on 2nd July. Will she self-isolate on her return?”
Naomi Longford-Wood replied: “She’ll need to isolate here before meeting anyone, like Prince Harry did before the Prince Phillip’s funeral.”
Another poster added: “I don’t think that we either need, or want her here. She’s an irrelevance to us.”
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