Coronavirus: UK citizens ‘exempt’ from EU travel ban

UK citizens will be exempt from a proposed emergency ban on travel to the EU by non-EU nationals, the head of the European Commission has said.
European Commission President Ursula Von Der LeyenEuropean Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen

Ursula Von Der Leyen said the Commission was proposing the 30-day ban on non-essential travel to the 26-state bloc in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus.

EU leaders will discuss the measure in a teleconference tomorrow, as individual governments adopt increasingly draconian measures including shutting their borders with fellow EU-member states.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Von Der Leyen stressed that the European internal market had to remain open to medical supplies, food and other essential trade.

And she also signalled that UK nationals would still be able to travel to Europe, telling a press conference: “UK citizens are European citizens so of course there are no restrictions for UK citizens to travel to the continent.”

Exemptions to the ban will also apply to medical staff, those with family members living in the EU, and anyone commuting across a border for work, Ms Von Der Leyen said.

The UK left the EU on 31 January, but free movement rules remain in force until the end of this year under a post-Brexit transition agreement.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

EU law continues to apply in the UK until the end of the transition, meaning Brussels could seek to force the UK to impose a similar travel ban on non-EU citizens entering the country.

Germany has shut its borders to non-essential travel, and the French government is expected to follow suit soon, with President Emmanuel Macron also expected to announce a national curfew.