Stay away, UK! EU chiefs BACK Merkel’s quarantine blacklist for Britons – new leaked memo

George Eustice grilled on travel by Hartley-Brewer

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The German Chancellor is today lobbying EU leaders to impose quarantine restrictions on all UK travellers visiting the Continent to curb the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus. Before jetting off to the European Council summit in Brussels, she lashed out at tourism-reliant countries for a “failure even today to adequately control arrivals from non-EU states where virus variants are proliferating”. Germany is spearheading efforts to enforce a mandatory 14-day quarantine on a majority of Britons entering the bloc.

Mrs Merkel, who warned that Europe was on “thin ice” in its fight against the pandemic, wants all other 26 EU nations to follow her lead by imposing the same draconian measures.

France, Italy and Poland have also announced similar restrictions in recent days amid fears over the Delta variant, which originated in India but is now dominant in the UK.

Arriving at the Brussels summit, Mrs Merkel told reporters: “The Delta variant worries us, of course. And I will advocate that we will act even more coordinated, especially when it comes to people travelling from virus variant areas.”

She seemingly secured the support of European Council President Charles Michel for an EU-wide quarantine order for UK travellers.

In a draft statement drawn up by his officials, EU leaders stressed the need to be “vigilant and coordinated with regard to developments, particularly the emergence and spread of variants”.

Their leaked memo, seen by, reads: “The European Council welcomes the good progress on vaccination and the overall improvement in the epidemiological situation, while stressing the need to continue vaccination efforts and to be vigilant and coordinated with regard to developments, particularly the emergence and spread of variants.”

Speaking earlier to German MPs, Mrs Merkel said: “We need to remain vigilant.

“In particular, the newly arising variants, especially now the delta variant, are a warning for us to continue to be careful.”

And in his invitation letter to EU leaders ahead of the summit, Mr Michel said: “We need to keep a close eye on variants and contain their spread in a coordinated manner.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice today said German demands for restrictions on all UK travellers were “unjustified”.

He said: “I’m not sure that such an approach would be justified given the highly advanced stage we are currently at now in terms of vaccination, with 80 percent having had one jab and now 60 percent having had the second jab.

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“I don’t think such a move would be justified but obviously it’s for individual countries to make these judgments.”

Rifts were also brewing in Brussels with tourism-dependent Portugal hitting out at Mrs Merkel’s calls for an EU-wide quarantine on Britons.

Its prime minister Antonio Costa told reporters that his country could be placed on a European “blacklist” for welcoming UK holidaymakers if the German Chancellor gets her own way at the summit.

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He added: “There is a misunderstanding to what has been adopted in relation to the British.”

But French President Emmanuel Macron offered a lifeline to double-jabbed Britons hoping to travel to Europe.

He called for the EU27 to take a coordinated approach to lifting border restrictions, but urged leaders to recognise the effectiveness of Covid vaccines in fighting the Delta mutant.

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