England 2 – 0 Germany: Angela Merkel BACKS DOWN after crunch talks with Boris Johnson and confirms double-jabbed Brits WILL be able to travel quarantine-free to Germany (and she even congratulated Three Lions for Euros win!)
Speaking alongside Boris Johnson at a press conference at Chequers, Mrs Merkel said Germany is ‘reviewing continuously’ its travel restrictions.
At the moment all UK travellers have to self-isolate on arrival in Germany for 14 days, with no exemptions.
But Mrs Merkel said that soon double-jabbed people ‘will be able to travel again without having to go into quarantine’.
Mrs Merkel last month had urged all EU member states to adopt Germany’s hardline approach to border rules.
Her comments today, following bilateral talks with Mr Johnson on the subject, pave the way for quarantine-free travel to open up across Europe in a massive boost for British holidaymakers.
Meanwhile, Mrs Merkel also congratulated the England football team and wished the nation luck after it beat Germany in the last 16 of the Euro 2020 tournament.
She said England ‘deserved’ to win the match on Tuesday but she admitted she was ‘a little bit saddened’ by the 2-0 defeat.
Angela Merkel today met with Boris Johnson at Chequers for bilateral talks as she prepares to step down as German Chancellor later this year
Mrs Merkel announced that Germany will soon change its travel rules for people who are double vaccinated so they no longer have to quarantine on arrival
Mrs Merkel also congratulated the England football team for beating Germany in the last 16 of the Euro 2020 tournament
Mrs Merkel had urged the EU to adopt a continent-wide, hardline approach to quarantine to stop the spread of the ‘Delta’ variant which has taken hold in the UK.
But this afternoon she announced a major shift in policy as she said: ‘We have adopted certain protective measures when we were not as yet so familiar with the Delta variant.
‘We now see that the share of the Delta variant in Germany is increasing very rapidly.
‘As you know we are reviewing continuously our travel restrictions and we think that in a foreseeable future, those who have received double jabs will then according to our classification, and now Britain obviously is a high incidence area, will be able to travel again without having to go into quarantine.’
Mr Johnson, who yesterday said that he believes double jabs will be a ‘liberator’ for international travel, welcomed the decision.
He said: ‘You will have heard what Chancellor Merkel just said about the German process and where they are on double jabs and I think that is great and that is right.
‘It sounds as though progress is being made.’
Mr Johnson had started the press conference by joking about England’s Euro 2020 victory over Germany.
Referencing Mrs Merkel’s 22 visits to the UK during her 16 years as Chancellor, the PM said: ‘In the course of that time some things have changed beyond recognition but for much of your tenure it was certainly a tradition, Angela, for England to lose to Germany in international football tournaments.
‘I am obviously grateful to you for breaking with that tradition, just for once.’
Mrs Merkel replied: ‘On football, obviously this was not a voluntary offer on my side in order to create the right climate, the right mood for this visit.
‘But I have to accept it and the result is as it is and that England was happy is obviously something that we understand and we hand it to you and you deserved it.
‘We were a little bit saddened, I must admit that, but now the best of luck to your team for all of the matches that still follow.’
The PM welcomed Mrs Merkel to his country residence in Buckinghamshire at lunchtime as they greeted each other with attempted fist and elbow bumps.
The meeting is taking place as part of an international swan song for the German Chancellor before she steps down later this year.
Mrs Merkel addressed a virtual meeting of the UK Cabinet, the first foreign leader to do so since Bill Clinton in 1997.
The pair had a working lunch of English asparagus tart, Oxfordshire beef fillet and baked custard tart before the press conference.
Ahead of the visit, Mr Johnson announced the creation of a new academic medal in the German Chancellor’s honour.
Downing Street said an award of £10,000 will be given each year to a British or German woman in science – an area the German Chancellor previously worked in.
It will be named after Caroline Herschel, a German-born British astrophysicist who was a pioneer in the field, with the first medal expected to be awarded in early 2022.
The leaders announced annual joint meetings of the UK and German cabinets, starting next year, as well as an intention to increase future funding to a bilateral programme for young people in both countries.
The two leaders, who met at the G7 in Cornwall last month, were expected to discuss post-Brexit relations between the two countries.
But the row over travel restrictions was top of the list of items to be discussed.
The UK is planning to lift quarantine requirements for amber list travel for the fully vaccinated in the near future and is pushing for EU nations to do the same.
Mr Johnson said yesterday that he believes double jabs can be a ‘liberator’ for summer holidays.
Speaking during a visit to a Nissan plant in Sunderland, he 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.’
Tony Blair yesterday urged Mr Johnson to challenge Mrs Merkel over Germany’s current travel rules as he said it ‘makes no sense’ to force fully vaccinated people to quarantine.
Mrs Merkel addressed a virtual meeting of the UK Cabinet, the first foreign leader to do so since Bill Clinton in 1997, while the two leaders are set to discuss relations between London and Berlin
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 former PM 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 recommended in a new policy paper 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’.