Britain’s plan to exempt France from 14-day travel quarantine must be applied to EVERY EU member state, the European Commission warns
- On Sunday the UK agreed that French travellers to UK would not face quarantine
- Every other member of the EU must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival in UK
- European Commission says UK must adhere to freedom of movement rules
Britain’s plan to exempt France from its proposed 14-day quarantine for arrivals into the UK should apply to every EU member state, the European Commission has warned.
It comes amid concerns that British people returning home for Florida face being quarantined while French travellers would not.
Ministers have also said that if citizens on the continent are once again able to freely move between states, they can simply bypass the country in which they reside and travel from France instead.
After Boris Johnson (left) told President Emmanuel Macron that French travellers wouldn’t face quarantine, the European Commission has said the privilege must extend to all EU states
Ex-Border Force director general Tony Smith told the Daily Telegraph: ‘It would be difficult to see how this could work operationally if you had a different process for the French.’
It follows French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly demanding exemption from Boris Johnson on Sunday.
Both leaders produced a joint statement following their phone call detailing an exemption for travellers from France.
A European Commission spokesman said that Britain is still subject to EU free movement rules while it is in the transition period before leaving the bloc at the end of the year.
‘Restrictions to free movement, as well as lifting restrictions, have to comply with the principles of proportionality and non-discrimination,’ he said.
‘We would expect that the UK in this case would apply the same kind of exemptions to arrivals from other member states, which are in a similar epidemiological situation as France.’
Under the Government’s plans, all people arriving at airports, ports and on Eurostar trains will be required to provide an address at which they will immediately self-isolate for 14 days to ensure they are coronavirus-free.
The authorities will conduct spot checks, with punishments of up to £1,000 fines and deportation for those breaching quarantine.
The plans mean that any UK traveller wanting to go on a fortnight’s holiday to countries other than France will have be away from their place of work for four weeks as they will need to quarantine for two weeks on their return to Britain.
The only exemptions for other countries and territories fall within the common travel area – Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
There will be other exemptions made for key freight arrivals such as medical supplies and food.
People for whom exemptions will be made are expected to include doctors, scientists and law enforcement officers.