Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Chequers on Friday, July 2, in what is likely to be a tense encounter as Germany and France call for EU-wide restrictions on British travellers.
Johnson and Merkel will meet later next week amid growing tensions as the German Chancellor has demanded all EU countries impose quarantine restrictions on British travellers.
A spokesman for Johnson said they will discuss “deepening the UK-German relationship and the global response to the coronavirus pandemic”.
Britain has dismissed the idea that the EU will take a bloc-wide approach and maintains that it is up to individual countries to set their own rules on travel, and it appears unlikely that Spain will join the Franco-German front.
Last week German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an EU-wide quarantine of travellers arriving from areas with high rates of Delta variant infections including Britain.
“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’s what I would like to see,” Merkel told the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament on June 23.
France offered support to Merkel on June 24. “For me one of the issues of discussion is to be really taking coordinated decisions in terms of opening of borders to third countries and on recognising vaccines because at this stage we have to limit this to the vaccines that have been approved by the European medical authority,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.
However, Spain is not considering the German proposal to quarantine British holiday makers although the government of the Balearic Islands has asked that controls be beefed up.
Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya, said on June 25, “At the moment we are maintaining the measures which enable British citizens to enter our territory.”
In 2019, 18 million British tourists visited Spain and accounted for 21.6 percent of all arrivals, with some five million of those visiting the Balearic Islands. The Spanish travel and tourism sector is counting on Brits to deliver a much-needed cash injection, as are British airlines who have laid on thousands of new flights to the Balearics since they were added to the green list this week.
Ryanair has added 200,000 extra seats from the UK to Malta, Ibiza and Majorca in July, August and September; and Wizz Air will restart flights to Malta, Majorca and Madeira from June 30.
Dara Brady, Ryanair’s marketing and digital director said, “This announcement is a small step in the right direction and, while we welcome the addition of Malta and the Balearics to the UK’s green list, we urge the government to immediately add equally safe destinations such as Cyprus, the Canaries and the Greek islands, and also to immediately allow vaccinated UK and EU citizens to travel freely between the UK and the EU without restrictions.”
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