Britons’ travel to EU countries could be restricted after Brexit, it has been reported.
The Financial Times reported that non-essential visits to countries in Europe by UK citizens could be affected by rules aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus.
The UK’s departure from the EU on January 1 means rules allowing free travel within the bloc will no longer apply to Britons – potentially putting holiday plans for 2021 at risk.
The Financial Times said it would mean most UK residents will face restrictions on visiting the remaining 27 members of the EU.
The news comes after a SkyNews/YouGov survey found that over half of people (54%) felt it would be acceptable to only allow air travel for people who had received a COVID vaccine.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Covid restrictions will depend on the combination of what the EU decides, but also member states.
“We have already got challenges with that and we have put our own restrictions in place.”
He acknowledged that coronavirus “remains a live issue and we need to make sure we have got control of it”.
“I’m afraid restriction on travel, inevitably, is going to be something that is kept under review.”
Asked whether it would mean that Britons would find it difficult to go to the European mainland, he said: “It all depends on the prevalence of the virus in those continental European countries.”
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An earlier Government statement said: “We take a scientific, risk-based approach to health measures at the border, and it is of course in the interests of all countries to allow safe international travel as we emerge from the pandemic.”
The formal end of the transition period on December 31 means Britons will face an EU regime that only allows non-essential travel from a very limited number of non-EU countries, the Financial Times reported.
The newspaper said most UK citizens would only be able to travel to the EU if individual states made provisions for such a move, or if the EU as a whole softened its travel restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy the PC Agency, said: “I cannot believe that EU countries who rely on the spending power of UK business and leisure travellers will seek to block entry after January 1.
“Cool heads need to prevail at this politically difficult time as travel and tourism is such a key contributor to economic growth in Europe.
“I’m sure that individual countries who need UK tourism will be sensible and override any EU-bloc decision which prevents entry. It is so important now for countries to work together globally to create a consistent approach.”
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