EU civil war: Spain and Portugal hit back at Merkel over UK tourists ahead of summit clash

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Speaking at a joint press conference with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the German Chancellor said the EU’s failure to agree to a joint travel policy on coronavirus was starting to “backfire”.

In a clear swipe at Portugal, Mrs Merkel said the country’s decision to allow British holidaymakers to enter the country could cost the bloc a surge in Covid cases.

She said: “What I regret is that we have not yet been able to achieve a uniform behaviour among the member states in terms of travel restrictions.

“That is backfiring.

“We now have a situation in Portugal that could perhaps have been avoided, and that’s why we have to work even harder on this.

“We’ve made pretty good progress in recent months, but we’re not yet where I would like the European Union to be.”

But tourism-dependent member states in the south are set to hit back at the German leader at the EU summit today, initiating yet another civil war over coronavirus measures.

One senior diplomat from Southern Europe told Politico on Wednesday: “It’s very easy for some countries to demand actions in sectors that affect themselves little.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is expected to be the main target for Mrs Merkel and other nordic EU leaders at the meeting today.

READ MORE: Merkel and Macron plans EU-Russia meet after it ‘fired shots’ at Navy

The World Health Organization warned on Friday the Delta variant was fast becoming the globally dominant strain of COVID-19 because of its “significantly increased transmissibility”.

To make things worse, the UK Government is contemplating allowing football fans holding a ticket to the Euro 2020 final to forfeit quarantine rules when entering the UK.

The Government announced on Tuesday more than 60,000 football fans will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final at Wembley if they have a negative Covid-19 test, or are able to prove they are double-vaccinated.

Moves to secure the prestigious final stages of the tournament for Wembley came after reports the showpiece could be moved to Budapest.

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi also said that Rome could provide an alternative venue.

In a statement, Uefa said: “Uefa, the English FA and the English authorities are working closely together successfully to stage the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 in Wembley, and there are no plans to change the venue for those games.”

British travellers continue to face restrictions over taking holidays abroad and Labour’s John Healey said any agreement for Uefa would be “one rule for important people… and one rule for the rest”.

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