Angela Merkel won’t stop Brits taking EU holidays, insists Grant Shapps

·3-min read
A plane takes off from Heathrow (PA Archive)
A plane takes off from Heathrow (PA Archive)

Millions of Britons will not be denied holidays in the EU by moves to impose quarantine regulations, a Cabinet minister insisted on Friday.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has been pressing EU leaders at a meeting in Brussels to impose stringent quarantine requirements on arrivals to the bloc from Britain. French president Emmanuel Macron appeared to back the move on Thursday amid fears over the Delta variant.

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested that France and Germany were “catching up” with their vaccination programmes and other countries will not follow suit.

Asked if he expected Spain to dissent, Mr Shapps told Times Radio: “I don’t think other countries are necessarily going to follow.

“It’s obviously up to each individual nation what they do. I don’t think we’ll see a sort of EU-wide policy, not least because Malta, for example, clearly are not restricting British travellers.

“But, then again, Malta has a very high level of vaccination like us and I guess if you’re in Germany or France or other places and you’re still catching up with the vaccination programme you’re going to be a little bit more cautious and that’s understandable too.”

However, he refused three times to say whether he would be willing to book a holiday to Majorca which is on the “green watchlist” — which means the country is at risk of returning to the amber list.

Majorca is among the destinations that have been added to the UK’s travel green list (pixabay)
Majorca is among the destinations that have been added to the UK’s travel green list (pixabay)

Mr Shapps told Sky News: “I do have to say whoever is booking to go anywhere this summer at all, travel insurance, making sure your flights are changeable, making sure the accommodation is changeable — all those things are going to be very important in this particular year and I think people will need to weigh up whether that is going to work for them or not.”

He said there were still issues to be worked out when it comes to allowing people who have had both vaccinations to travel to amber list countries without needing to quarantine. He suggested there would be no changes before July 19 when domestic coronavirus restrictions are due to be lifted, and that any double-jab holiday exemptions are likely to take a “phased approach”.

In a blow to London’s economy, he also suggested a decision on allowing double-jabbed citizens from overseas not to quarantine when they come to the UK from an amber list country would not be taken until later in the summer.

It comes after the Government added 14 new countries and territories to its green list of destinations from which travellers do not have to self-isolate on their return. While some popular hotspots — including Spain’s Balearic Islands and a number of Caribbean destinations — are on the list, France, Greece, Italy and mainland Spain remain off limits to UK holidaymakers.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the UK on Friday, July 3. The Prime Minister will host her at Chequers.

“This will be a chance to discuss a range of issues, including deepening the UK-Germany relationship and the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

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