Macron humiliated! Why French President had to roll back on UK travel ban

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Bizarre rules saying Brits could not travel through France to get to other European destinations via car or train services have been lifted less than two days after they were brought in. The UK Government’s advice, as published on its website, says: “The French authorities confirmed on December 30 that UK nationals who are resident in other EU member states and who have travelled to the UK for the Christmas period will be able to transit France over the New Year period in order to return home to their country of residence.”

The rules confirm: “Transit for less than 24 hours in the international zone of an airport is listed under ‘essential reasons’ to travel.”

A spokesperson for the French interior ministry confirmed the changes.

They said: “A large number of British nationals residing in an EU country have travelled in good faith to the UK for the festive season and are experiencing difficulties in reaching their country of residence.

“Faced with this situation, instructions of tolerance have been sent to police officers at the borders with the United Kingdom, in order to allow these nationals to transit through France to reach their residence in a country of the European Union, after this Christmas and New Year period.”

The rules were part of a wider travel ban on Brits entering France for holiday or business reasons.

Non-essential travel from the UK to France has been largely prohibited since December 18, throwing many Christmas plans for those with family in France into jeopardy.

France and Germany have been the only EU countries to ban UK travellers as the Omicron variant spread swiftly through Britain this month.

France still appears to be adamant that Brits cannot travel to France in the near future, despite their neighbour Germany lifting their travel ban for UK travellers this week.

The travel ban, in place to stop the spread of the Omicron variant, is having a disastrous effect on the French tourism industry, with leaders calling for a full cancellation of the rules.

Senior industry figures across the Channel said a number of holiday and ski resorts face economic ‘catastrophe’ unless the ban is lifted.

France is currently only letting Brits cross its borders if they have a ‘compelling reason’ to travel – so business and leisure are out of the question.

January and February are some of the busiest tourism months for France, which boasts some of Europes most popular ski destinations.

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What’s more, France is currently posting comparable numbers of coronavirus infections as the UK, and the Omicron variant is already circulating throughout the country.

The prevalence of Omicron has already helped drive infection numbers across the channel to a record 232,000 new cases yesterday.

French tourism businesses have declared their anger with President Macron, claiming he is playing politics with their livelihoods due to poor France-UK relations.

Francois Badjily, head of the Alpe d’Huez tourist office, said: “We have the impression that our industry is being made to pay the price for the poor relations between both countries right now, whether it’s about Brexit or fishing or whatever.

“Why should a Briton who meets these criteria not be allowed to come, but the French and Belgians can?”

What’s more, France has brought in more restrictions for the new year that could spell disaster for hospitality and tourism industries.

From January 3 it will be compulsory to work from home at least three days per week, cafés and bars must provide table service only and nightclubs will remain closed.

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