Stop it Angela! Furious French backlash as Germany slams shut EU borders

Germany: Border closure 'highly problematic' says expert

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Berlin has added France’s eastern Moselle region to its list of “variant of concern” areas. Under the new tougher entry restrictions, almost all travel will be banned. There are a small number of exemptions to allow key workers and haulers to cross the border, with a negative Covid test.

The Robert Koch institute, Germany’s disease control agency, has also listed the Czech Republic, Portugal, Britain and parts of Austria.

France has issued a furious response after the announcement last night, which prevents the majority of travel from Moselle – which borders the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.

Europe minister Clement Beaune said: “I regret this decision by the Germans because it will mean a number of slowdowns at the borders for the people who work.

“We are doing everything we can do to preserve border work.”

Moselle has seen a weekly surge of coronavirus cases, with more than 300 infections per 100,000 people.

The soaring numbers are well above France’s national average.

In Germany, the current number of weekly cases standards at almost 64 per 100,000 citizens.

At the closed border crossings, only Germans and residents are allowed to enter.

Every vehicle will be stopped that the border and occupants must produce a negative test that is less than 48 hours old and proof of their exemption.

German health officials are concerned that new mutant strains – such as the British, South African and Brazilian variants – could hamper the country’s progress in stopping the spread of the virus.

Karl Lauterbach, an epidemiologist and Social Democrat MP, said: “There are two trains rushing toward each other.”

France and Germany will today hold talks over the implications of the border restrictions, Germany’s interior ministry has said.

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The French border checks will not be as tough as ones carried out on the Czech and Austrian frontiers.

“And there is good cooperation between the affected German and French regions,” an interior ministry spokesman said.

Austria has also railed against the German border closures, claiming they endanger the EU’s single market.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said: “Measures that lead to endangering the single market, prevent people from getting to their work place or tear families apart, I don’t find very sensible.

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“Even within Germany the strictness of the border regulations varies.”

Germany has already had its knuckles rapped by the European Commission over the border closure.

Brussels wants Berlin – and five other capitals – to lift travel restrictions and have threatened potential legal action for breaking the bloc’s free movement rules.

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