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TRAVEL

European airlines demand end to quarantine ‘chaos’

European airlines on Tuesday urged national capitals to coordinate measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, saying the current patchwork of restrictions is hobbling a return to regular travel around the EU.

European airlines demand end to quarantine 'chaos'
A member of Charles de Gaulle airport personnel wears a protective face mask in the deserted passport control section of arrivals in Terminal 2 of Charles de Gaulle international airport in Roissy nea

The hurdles have included “chaotic border restrictions along with confusion about quarantines, varying passenger locator forms and test requirements,” Airlines For Europe (A4E) director Thomas Reynaert said in a press conference held by video.

To overcome the piecemeal measures, A4E urged a “common approach”, backing calls from the European Commission for a central colour-coded map of areas in the bloc where the virus risk, is high to enable restrictions by region rather than “blanket national restrictions”.

Passengers should have access to “quick and reliable Covid-19 tests” and quarantines should be downgraded to “an instrument of last resort”, the airline group said.

“Low-risk” travellers including pilots and cabin crew ought to be excluded from travel restrictions, the companies added.

The airlines' appeal to governments comes after August saw passenger traffic plateau at around 30 percent of its level a year ago, according to A4E's own figures.

“A unified European testing programme is urgently needed if we are to have any chance of restoring passenger confidence,” Reynaert said.

Greater EU-wide coordination should be made a “political priority”, Air France-KLM chief and A4E chairman Benjamin Smith said.

“Uncoordinated national measures over the last six months have had a devastating impact on freedom of movement.”

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BREXIT

British drivers will no longer need an insurance ‘green card’ to visit Europe, EU rules

The post-Brexit requirement for drivers from the UK to obtain a 'green card' from their insurance company before visiting Europe is set to be dropped after the European Commission agreed to waive the requirement.

British drivers will no longer need an insurance 'green card' to visit Europe, EU rules
Photo: Christophe Petit Tesson/AFP

The announcement from the Commission on Thursday was part of a package of measures designed to diffuse tension over the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but will apply throughout the EU.

The new rule will come into effect 20 days after the ruling is published in the EU’s official journal, which is expected to be in the next few days.

This means that British visitors taking their cars when going on holidays or family visits to France, Germany, Spain etc will no longer be required to obtain extra paperwork from their car insurance companies ahead of their journey.

Readers of a certain age will remember the ‘green cards’ – issued by the insurance company before a trip abroad. The internationally recognised card shows local law enforcement that the car is fully insured.

This requirement returned after the end of the Brexit transition period, although in practice not all insurance companies were issuing the cards and some told customers that they were not necessary.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) described the decision as excellent news for drivers.

Its director general, Huw Evans, told British newspaper The Guardian that the Commission had taken a “pragmatic approach on the matter”.

“UK drivers will no longer need to apply for a green card through their insurer which will help reduce bureaucracy for drivers and road hauliers travelling between the UK and EU,” he said.

“It will be especially welcomed by motorists in Northern Ireland driving across the border.”

Bilateral deals on driving licences mean that most EU countries continue to allow British tourists and visitors to drive on UK licences (although British residents in some countries have to swap their licence for a local one) and an International Driver’s Permit is not necessary.

There are, however, still plenty of extra requirements in place for Brits coming into EU countries, from changes to passports rules for both humans and pets to a ban on ham sandwiches – check out the complete list of new rules HERE.

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