Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London C: OGL-UK Government

The European Commission has asked its 27 member states to remove bans aimed at citizens wanting to travel to the United Kingdom.

Bans imposed in recent days by a number of EU states have seen UK bound traveller numbers drop off to almost zero, in essence to avoid picking up a new strain of the coronavirus now detected in the UK.

The request by the European Commission was initiated prior to a meeting of its ambassadors, but is being seen in some circles as part of the wider UK-EU impasse over Brexit negotiations – and crucially for London, as the EU having blinked first.

France led the way and will let traffic from the UK enter the country from today following bilateral agreements on driver health checks.

It is understood that almost 3,000 trucks have been stranded in south east England waiting to enter the continent since Sunday.

As part of the agreement, British health authorities and branches of the UK military will now travel to the area to test drivers ahead of ferries and Eurostar trains starting early on Wednesday.

Anyone travelling must show proof of a negative test for the virus in the previous 72 hours although for now travel is only being permitted to limited numbers travelling for essential reasons, or with French residency.

In as far as the bigger picture of Brexit is concerned, Wednesday and Thursday will prove pivotal in seeing whether the EU acquiescing on the travel ban will see the government of Boris Johnson relax access to British fishing grounds as part of the UK and the EU reaching an agreement on trade prior to January 1st.

At present, with no agreement in place, London and Brussels will need to abide by World Trade Organisation rules on imports and exports from January 1st, which it has been speculated could lead to increased prices in daily commodities both sides of the English Channel.

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