Sunday, 25 Jul 2021

EU warning: Macron and Merkel could stop UK tourists entering Europe as they fume at Boris

Vaccine row: European Union warned about contracts by Wallace

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The EU is looking to bounce back from the coronavirus crisis as member states approved the first stage of a rescue plan yesterday. EU finance ministers on Tuesday approved a coronavirus recovery plan for 12 of its members that would provide grants and loans for countries including Germany, France and Italy. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Latvia, Spain, Luxembourg, Portugal and Slovakia will also benefit from the national recovery programs presented by finance ministers.

The £571million Recovery and Resilience Facility aims to “power the European economic recovery by supporting member states’ reforms and investment projects.”

But Europe is also wary of the Delta variant of COVID-19, and how this may scupper the EU’s recovery plans.

Expert on European affairs, Kevin Featherman, tells Express.co.uk that this could result in European leaders blocking Britons from going on holiday in the EU.

The London School of Economics academic said: “For the major European countries, they don’t have the same vaccination rate and they are concerned about the Delta variant increasing in the UK.

“They think Boris is a bit of a chancer and he may come unstuck. Clearly with the Boris strategy, there is a very high risk.

“Either it works in the UK and this third wave is managed ‒ the darker scenario, is that it doesn’t work, we have over 100,000 infections a day and the NHS doesn’t cope, and from the European point of view the problem will be what to do with British tourists.

“Mediterranean states depend on our tourism, so we could then see pressure from Paris and Berlin together to say ‘stop travellers from Britain’ whatever those in Madrid or Rome say.

“So we could easily have a political flare up in August on the basis that the UK’s strategy of easing up hasn’t worked, and there’s a sense that British travellers must be stopped.

“We are going to see political conflict within the EU, but also between the EU and London. ‘What the hell have you been doing? That’s the stupidest risk taking’.”

Yesterday, France announced new restrictions on the UK, Spain and Portugal.

President Macron announced a package of measures aimed at controlling a delta-driven fourth wave of Covid in France.

On the subject of travel restrictions, he said: “From this week, controls at our borders will be strengthened for those coming from high-risk countries, with strict isolation for unvaccinated travellers.”

However, some clarification was later published by France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune on Twitter.

It appears that France is keeping in place its traffic light system, but imposing extra restrictions on three countries.

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The UK government confirmed plans to drop almost all coronavirus restrictions in England next week, while urging citizens to keep wearing face masks indoors and to continue working from home if they can.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has adopted a different tone to his predecessor Matt Hancock, telling the Commons that “no date we choose comes with zero risk for Covid.”

He added: “We cannot eliminate it, instead we have to learn to live with it.”

On Monday, he said that while the UK would gain more freedom, care still needs to be taken.

Mr Javid added: “This is not the end of the road. It’s the start of a new phase of continued caution, where we live with the virus and manage the risks … as we make these changes, it’s so important that people act with caution and personal responsibility.”

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