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COVID-19: UK-EU restrictions set to be high on agenda as Boris Johnson welcomes Germany’s Angela Merkel for talks

Written by on 2 July 2021

The prime minister will welcome Angela Merkel to the UK on Friday, with coronavirus travel restrictions expected to be high on the agenda for their talks.

Boris Johnson will host the German chancellor at his country residence of Chequers, Mrs Merkel’s final visit before she steps down later this year.

COVID-19 is anticipated to be among the topics up for discussion, particularly in the wake of Mrs Merkel reportedly calling for the European Union to ban all UK travellers from entering the bloc regardless of their vaccination status.

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PM ‘confident’ two jabs will enable travel

Fully-vaccinated Britons have been promised they will be able to travel to amber list countries – including the likes of Germany, France, Greece, Italy and Portugal – without having to quarantine upon their return “later this summer”.

But according to The Times, the German chancellor wants the EU to designate Britain as a “country of concern” due to the spread of the Delta variant.

Germany has already designated the UK a “virus variant region”, meaning anyone arriving from Britain and Northern Ireland has to quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

The two leaders, who last met at the G7 summit in Cornwall last month, are also expected to discuss relations between London and Berlin when they sit down for talks.

Mrs Merkel is set to address a virtual meeting of the British cabinet as part of her trip, while the PM will also announce the creation of a new academic medal in her honour.

Every year, an award of £10,000 will be given to a UK or Germany-based female scientist who has excelled in the field of astrophysics.

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The medal will be named after Caroline Herschel, a German-born British astrophysicist who was a pioneer in the field, with the first award expected to be made in early 2022.

“The UK and Germany have a steadfast friendship and a shared outlook on many issues,” Mr Johnson said in a written statement released by Downing Street ahead of the visit.

“Our scientists, innovators and industrialists work together every day to make the world a better place.

“Over the 16 years of Chancellor Merkel’s tenure the UK-Germany relationship has been re-energised and reinvigorated for a new era. And the new joint ventures we will agree today will leave a legacy that will last for generations.”

The Queen will receive Mrs Merkel at Windsor Castle on Friday.

Mrs Merkel, who came to power in 2005 and is the first female chancellor of Germany, is making a number of farewell visits as she prepares to step down.

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