UK expands travel green list as citizens face fresh hurdles to travel in EU

Macron joins Merkel in calling for an EU-wide quarantine requirement for visitors from Britain

Britain has added Malta, the Balearic Islands, Madeira and some Caribbean islands to its "green" list of countries people can visit without having to quarantine on their return. But British holiday-makers could face fresh hurdles after French president Emmanuel Macron joined German chancellor Angela Merkel calling for an EU-wide quarantine requirement for visitors from Britain.

“We must all be vigilant because the much-talked-about Delta variant is coming, which spreads much more rapidly than the other variants and affects people who are not vaccinated or who only have had one dose,” Mr Macron said.

“For me one of the issues of discussion is to be really taking co-ordinated decisions in terms of opening of borders to third countries and on recognising vaccines because at this stage we have to limit this to the vaccines that have been approved by the European medical authority.”

British visitors to Germany are required to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of vaccine status, while in France they are admitted for holidays if they have been vaccinated.

British agriculture minister George Eustice criticised demands for restrictions on British visitors as "unjustified", and Boris Johnson said there was a chance to open up travel for those who had been fully vaccinated.

“Let’s see where we get to with all this. I think that the real opportunity we all have now is to open up travel through the double jab. If you look at it we’ve got more than 60 per cent of our population who have now had two jabs, I think 83 per cent have had one jab, we’re really getting through it now,” the prime minister said.

“I’m not going to claim that this summer, for travel purposes, is going to be like any other summer. I don’t want to cast a pall over things, but, as I said the other day, it will be different.”

Ibiza and Mallorca

The new additions to the green list, which is the same for Northern Ireland as for the rest of the UK, include some of the most popular holiday destinations for British people such as Ibiza and Mallorca.

The expansion of the green list came as the government promised to publish the results of a coronavirus pilot events programme before the next stage of reopening on July 19th.

“Our ongoing, groundbreaking events research programme is gathering important evidence to help get all live events, including theatre shows, festivals and gigs, fully back up and running once it is safe to do so.

“We will publish the results of the programme before the move to step four, as we have always promised to. This aligns with the publication commitments for the other road map reviews,” a government spokesman said.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has joined other figures in the entertainment industry in a legal action to force the government to publish the result of the pilot events immediately.

“We simply must now see the data that is being used to strangle our industry so unfairly. The government’s actions are forcing theatre and music companies off a cliff as the summer wears on whilst cherry-picking high-profile sporting events to go ahead. The situation is beyond urgent,” he said.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is London Editor of The Irish Times