Individual EU countries could temporarily ban all UK residents - the new proposal explained

By Iain Leggat
Thursday, 21st January 2021, 11:35 am
Updated Thursday, 21st January 2021, 11:35 am
Individual EU countries could temporarily ban all UK residents - the new proposal explained (Photo: Shutterstock)

A new proposal from Germany to the EU would give European leaders the power to temporarily ban all UK residents from entering their countries.

The proposal, which was first seen by The Times, means EU countries would have the power to cut all passenger transport links with the UK, if member states thought it “necessary to protect public health”.

If passed, it could mean the EU would be closed to UK travellers until it was proved that coronavirus vaccines stop transmission, and a reduced spread of the new Covid variant was evident.

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‘Slow down spread of worrying virus variants’

The proposal, which has the backing of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said: “Only if member states take joint and co-ordinated action can the virus be contained effectively. We see an urgent need to act in order to prevent or at least slow down the spread of worrying virus variants to and within the EU area.”

The Times reports that the proposal will almost certainly be accepted.

Trade and freight has, however, been highlighted in the proposal, as Germany wants to avoid measures causing cross-border transport issues.

Chaos was caused in Dover over Christmas, after French border measures to ban road haulage caused a severe backlog of trucks trying to transport goods.

“In all these efforts, essential supply chains and the integrity of the internal market, in particular of the cross-border transport of goods and supplies, have to be guaranteed,” the proposal said.

Current travel restrictions between UK and EU

In December, most EU countries announced measures banning travel from the UK over fears of the new Covid-19 variant.

The Netherlands has just ordered the country’s first nationwide curfew since the Second World War, and has banned flights from the UK.

European leaders will be discussing more flight and travel bans to Europe on a video conference call on 21 January, in an attempt to “deal with Sars-Cov-2 variants of concern”.