Boris Johnson urged to challenge Angela Merkel over travel rules

Boris prepares for showdown talks at Chequers with Angela Merkel over travel rules tomorrow as Tony Blair says her ban on fully vaccinated UK tourists ‘makes no sense’

  • Boris Johnson is due to welcome Angela Merkel to Chequers tomorrow for talks
  • PM under pressure to challenge Ms Merkel over German quarantine travel rules
  • Downing Street has confirmed that Mr Johnson and Ms Merkel will discuss rules
  • Tony Blair said forcing jabbed Brits to quarantine on arrival ‘makes no sense’ 

Boris Johnson is under pressure to challenge Angela Merkel over Germany’s travel rules after Tony Blair said making fully-vaccinated Brits quarantine ‘makes no sense’.

The Prime Minister will welcome the German Chancellor to Chequers for talks tomorrow and Downing Street has confirmed that travel restrictions will be discussed.   

Germany has designated the UK as an area of concern due to the spread of the ‘Delta’ coronavirus variant and it has effectively banned British travellers from visiting. 

Any Brits arriving in Germany must spend 14 days in quarantine with no exemptions, including for the fully vaccinated.

Mrs Merkel has urged the EU to adopt her approach across all member states but countries like Spain have resisted a blanket border policy because of the damage it would do its crucial tourism sector.

The UK is planning to lift quarantine requirements for amber list travel for the fully vaccinated and Mr Johnson said today he believes ‘double jabs will be a liberator’ for travel.

The PM is expected to try to persuade Mrs Merkel to ditch her plans for a hardline EU-wide approach in order to keep alive hopes of summer holidays to Europe.

Mr Blair has said Mr Johnson ‘should heavily counter the German proposal to extend their quarantine of British travellers to other EU countries’.      

Boris Johnson is under pressure to challenge Angela Merkel over Germany’s travel rules when they meet at Chequers for talks tomorrow

Tony Blair said Mrs Merkel’s policy of making fully-vaccinated Brits quarantine ‘makes no sense’

Reports suggested overnight that the fully vaccinated will be able to travel quarantine-free from amber list countries by July 26. 

Speaking during a visit to a Nissan plant in Sunderland, Mr Johnson said: ‘Everybody who is frustrated about travel over the summer – double jabs will be a liberator.

‘I want travel to be possible but I’ve got to stress that this year will not be like every other year because of the difficulties with Covid. People shouldn’t expect it will be completely hassle free.’

Mr Johnson will welcome Mrs Merkel to Chequers tomorrow afternoon for bilateral talks. 

The Tony Blair Institute said in a new briefing paper that the PM should challenge Mrs Merkel over her travel rules.  

Mr Blair said: ‘We continue to believe that those who are doubly vaccinated should be treated differently from those who are unvaccinated. 

‘The data is clear: they’re less likely to get the virus, less likely to transmit it and much less likely to be severely sick. 

‘Germany’s attempt to block UK travellers to Europe even if vaccinated on the basis of the prevalence of the Delta variant, makes no sense when we know the variant is already in Europe and will become the dominant strain there also; and when the UK, because it does so much more genomic sequencing, has a better handle on the prevalence of the variant, but is not necessarily a greater risk.’ 

Mr Blair’s institute has recommended that the EU, including Germany, should base travel restrictions on individual vaccine status rather the prevalence of variants in the traveller’s home country.    

It also called for the UK to play a ‘proactive role in the creation of a European-wide Covid Pass that removes restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers, and this should be introduced now’.    

UK travellers are currently subject to a wide array of different border rules in European countries. Mrs Merkel has called for the EU to adopt a single hardline policy

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said at lunchtime: ‘Whilst I wouldn’t seek to predict exactly what they will discuss, I think it is fair to say that the PM and Chancellor Merkel will talk about opening up international travel for the benefit of both UK and German nationals and of course the EU more widely.’

Asked whether Mr Johnson agreed with Mr Blair that the German policy ‘makes no sense’, the spokesman said: ‘I think what is important is to let the two leaders meet.

‘They will have a number of issues to discuss, as I have said, I am sure they will discuss travel alongside the continuing work to build back from the Covid pandemic.

‘You have seen our position as regards to fully-vaccinated individuals. We will be setting out more detail on that in due course.’

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