EU emergency meeting ends 'without concrete decision' over UK travel

Lianna Brinded
·Head of Yahoo Finance UK
·3 min read

Watch: Vehicles turned away from Port of Dover as France closes border

Emergency talks between European Union (EU) members over alleviating the ban of goods travelling to and from the UK and France as apparently ended “without a concrete decision.” A joint decision is now not expected until Tuesday.

Earlier on Monday, France’s transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said that he hoped emergency talks would lead to member states coming to an agreement to allow traffic to flow to and from the UK again.

"In the next few hours, at European level, we're going to establish a solid health protocol to ensure that movement from the UK can resume," Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Monday.

Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, France's transport minister, speaks during an interview at the transport ministry in Paris, France, on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Photo: Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg
Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, France's transport minister, speaks during an interview at the transport ministry in Paris, France, on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Photo: Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg

The announcement comes after a whirlwind 48 hours where the UK government announced a range of new severe restrictions on a bulk of the nation to mitigate a new mutant strain of coronavirus.

On Saturday, UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced stricter coronavirus measures in London, the South East and East of England amid concerns about the spread of the new COVID strain that is allegedly 70% more transmissible. This also led to Wales and Scotland implementing their own similar measures.

On Sunday into this week, countries across the globe — not just Europe — started implementing bans on flights and freight from the UK to stop the spread of the virus across borders.

France is particularly important to the UK due to the essential port connections for ferrying food and supplies across the Channel.

Responding to yesterday evening’s suspension of accompanied freight traffic from the UK to France, FDF CEO Ian Wright told Yahoo Finance UK: “Yesterday’s suspension of accompanied freight traffic from the UK to France has the potential to cause serious disruption to UK post-Christmas fresh food supplies – and exports of UK food and drink.

“Continental truckers will not want to travel here if they have a real fear of getting marooned. The Government must very urgently persuade the French government to exempt accompanied freight from its ban.”

A spokesperson for the UK Government said it was in contact with the French authorities about the ban on lorries crossing the channel: “We are obviously working incredibly closely with our international partners and are working urgently to minimise the disruption as far as possible... we are in close contact with the French to try and get this resolved.”

UK plunged into chaos

The discovery of the new mutant strain of coronavirus has led to a large scale knock-on effect that will severely impact several industries — even if it’s for the “short term.”