SPAIN has indicated it will fight any Franco-German attempt to get the rest of Europe to introduce quarantine for British holidaymakers.
Maria Reyes Maroto, Spain's Tourism Minister, appeared to put her country on a collision course with EU leaders by insisting before the UK’s new traffic light announcement: “Hopefully we can begin to receive British tourists soon.”
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Speaking today at an event organised by leading Spanish newspaper El Pais, she said: “We don’t have any restrictions on tourists from the UK at the moment.
“They’re the ones who are placing restrictions on people when they return.”
Spain's Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya confirmed on Thursday night the country would snub Angela Merkel by continuing to let British tourists into the country without forcing them to quarantine.
She said at a press conference with her Panamanian counterpart Erika Mouynes after their meeting in Madrid: “At the moment we are maintaining the measures which enable British citizens to enter our territory.”
Portuguese PM Antonio Costa admitted earlier today it would bow down to whatever EU leaders decided ahead of a European Council meeting.
Asked by a Portuguese journalist if Lisbon would consider making Brits quarantine, he replied: “If that was the wish of the Council, yes. The United Kingdom shouldn’t have any different treatment.”
Putting the UK’s fight against the Delta variant of the virus, which prompted calls from Angela Merkel to urge an EU-coordinated approach, at the centre of the green light debate, she added: “Perhaps the green light for Spain doesn’t depend on the situation here, now that the tendency here is the right one, but on the UK’s epidemiological situation and the fear that an opening of borders would go against attempts to control the pandemic.”
In 2018, 18 million Brits picked Spain for their holidays, way above second and third-placed Germany and France with around 11 million tourists each.
Spain opened up to British tourists at the end of May despite France and Germany unveiling tougher rules.
At the time Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez extended his own personal invite to holidaymakers from the UK by announcing in English they could return with no Covid tests or vaccine requirements.
Majorca has seen a surge in the number of tourists from Germany in recent days after it dropped quarantine requirements and Spain said tourists from most of the country need not show proof of vaccination or negative Covid tests to get in.
British-popular resorts on the island, including Magaluf and neighbouring Palmanova, remain very quiet with around half of the hotels still closed.
Today the Environment Secretary hit back at the calls for European states to lock out Brits travelling to their countries.
Environment secretary George Eustice fumed: "Each country is taking their own decisions on this, so it will be for them to judge what approach they want to take.
"I'm not sure that such an approach would be justified given the highly advanced stage we are currently at now in terms of vaccination, with 80% having had one jab and now 60% having had the second jab.
"I don't think such a move would be justified but obviously it's for individual countries to make these judgments."
Brits must register to visit Germany then isolate for 14 days without any possibility of early test and release.
Germany has an inferior jabs roll-out and higher daily death rate, while 60 per cent of Brits are double jabbed.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has said the Delta variant is already taking hold on the continent.
It predicts that by the end of August a massive 90% of new cases across the bloc will be down to the new strain.
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