Brexit: Ireland 'wants to punish the UK' says Hoey
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Insiders say member states are putting off a joint decision on whether to permit double-jabbed Britons to travel to the bloc “out of spite and frustration” with Brexit minister Lord Frost. EU governments have so far shelved plans to discuss allowing Britons in until September, after their six-week summer break. The move means thousands of families hoping to take advantage of the UK’s relaxed travel rules could be forced to isolate when arriving on the Continent.
It comes after the Government announced that fully vaccinated European and American travellers will no longer have to quarantine for 10 days after landing in England.
But European leaders are not expected to immediately reciprocate with sources citing the tussles over Brexit as one of the reasons for the delay.
An EU diplomat told Express.co.uk: “Given Lord Frost’s acting so far, EU member states are very mistrusting of British moves and are holding off on a decision whether to grant British tourists access to the European travel area.”
In a blow to holiday hopes, the indecision from the bloc will leave huge clouds of uncertainty over people’s summer travel plans.
UK and EU officials have reached advanced stages in talks over recognising each other’s coronavirus travel certificates in order to prove vaccination status.
However, an EU-wide decision must still be taken before fully vaccinated Britons are allowed to enter the EU without any restrictions.
The bloc has been holding off on including the UK on its safe list for non-essential travel amid fears over the Delta variant.
European capitals usually review restrictions every two weeks – but the summer holidays mean the next decision could be postponed until September.
Without an agreement, Britons could have to isolate on arrival in a host of EU nations, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal.
Ultimately decisions on border controls are left up to member states – with some tourist hotspots having already lifted restrictions on UK travellers – but most want to adopt a joint approach to the issue.
The talks are expected to become overtly political when they resume after the summer break.
Sources say this means any ruling is likely to be hijacked by hardline governments seeking to put a squeeze on Downing Street over Brexit.
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One EU official said a group of nations, including France and Germany, are frustrated with the Commission for “gifting the UK a diplomatic win” by pausing legal action against No10 over alleged breaches of the divorce deal.
Governments, led by Paris, want eurocrats to be more resolute in their wrangling over Northern Ireland Protocol to avoid a hard border.
The hardliners fear that Brussels could go too far in offering concessions to Britain after Lord Frost called for the measures to reworked to remove EU-ordered customs controls in the region.
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They are hoping to build pressure on Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s Brexit chief, to ensure the letter of EU single market law is applied in the area and the bloc doesn’t buckle to UK demands for a wholesale renegotiation on the agreement.
The Commission was this week praised by Downing Street for its climbdown on the threat of legal action.
Eurocrats said the decision was to create “necessary space” to consider No10’s proposals on how to aboard a hard border and defuse tensions over the issue.
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