Macron urges EU states to coordinate rules for non-EU travellers

It comes over growing concerns about the Delta variant of Covid-19, and inconsistent rules within the EU, with some countries, such as Germany, demanding quarantine and others not even demanding pre-flight Covid tests

25 June 2021
A map of Europe

Countries around the EU have different entry requirements for travellers coming from non-EU countries, with some demanding quarantines on arrival and others applying almost no restrictions Pic: Maxx-Studio / Shutterstock

French President Emmanuel Macron has said the EU must take a coordinated approach to opening borders to non-EU countries, including the UK, due to concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19. 

It comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German parliament on Wednesday June 23 that she wanted all EU states to impose a quarantine-on-arrival rule on travellers from the UK, in line with current German rules.

“In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see,” she said.

Rules to enter EU countries from the UK, for example, vary greatly with some countries, such as Germany and Belgium, demanding quarantine on arrival, and others, such as Spain, not even requiring pre-departure tests. 

Mr Macron was speaking ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels yesterday (June 24).

"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," he said.

“For me one of the issues of discussion is to be really taking coordinated decisions in terms of opening of borders to third [non EU] 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.”

A spokesperson for the UK government responded to these comments, saying:

“Currently, it is down to individual EU member states to decide on the rules governing their borders. We are moving at speed through our vaccination programme to help us curb this latest variant.

“We will continue to have discussions with our European partners on the reopening of international travel but we’re very confident that our vaccination programme is providing a good way forward.”

The EU’s varying travel rules for people entering from the UK include (we've listed just five to show the different approaches):

France

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can visit France for tourism or leisure reasons, as long as they have proof of a negative Covid-19 test. They do not need to quarantine on arrival.

People who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can only enter if they have an essential reason, most of which involve having the right to live or work in France. For people with an essential reason, they will need to self-isolate for seven days on arrival.

Germany

Germany is only allowing people who live or have the right to live in Germany, and their families, to enter from the UK. 

They need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departure and will have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. It is not possible to leave the quarantine early. 

Italy

People travelling from the UK to Italy can do so without an essential reason, but they will need to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test and self-isolate for five days upon arrival, and then take a rapid antigen test on the fifth day. 

Spain

People travelling from the UK to Spain only need to complete a health control form declaring any known history of exposure to Covid-19 and giving contact details.

They do not need to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departure, quarantine on arrival or have an essential reason to go. 

Belgium

People in the UK can only enter Belgium if they are residents in Belgium or have another essential reason.

They need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to arrival.

They must also quarantine for 10 days upon arrival and take a test on the first and seventh days of their quarantine period. 

Read more:

Checklist: New traffic-light Covid rules for travel to or from France

France’s health pass vs the EU’s health pass: What is the difference?

How to ensure your French Covid certificates will work for EU travel

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