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The pandemic

Hands off our hols, Frau Merkel

Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

Angela Merkel’s attempt to ban British tourists from Europe because of the spread of the Delta variant is just “sour riesling grapes”, says Ross Clark in the Daily Mail. She’s bashing the UK “for having the temerity to leave the EU”. And, along with Emmanuel Macron, she is “disgracefully trying to dictate” to southern European countries that are much more reliant on tourism: Spain made £7.9bn from British holidaymakers in 2016. It’s all part of a “power grab” that’s been going on since the German-focused European Central Bank bailed out southern European countries out after the 2008 crash.  

Spain and Portugal have already imposed restrictions on UK visitors. But if Merkel and Macron are really worried about the Delta variant, “why don’t they test for it properly”? The UK sequences half of all positive Covid samples to detect variants – in Germany it’s just 1.2%, and in France 3.6%. Meanwhile, travellers from Germany and France, where vaccination rates are significantly lower than ours, can swan about Europe with “far greater freedom”. It’s maddening. First Berlin and Paris tried to exclude our goods from the EU. Now they want to shut out hundreds of thousands of Britons with bulging wallets, “desperate to hit the European beaches this summer and start spending money”.

Why it matters It’s no surprise Merkel is not bothered about British tourists. UK travellers made more than 18 million visits to Spain in 2019, more than five times as many as to Germany and 80% more than to France.

Read the full article here.