England removes remaining countries from coronavirus travel ‘red list’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government would keep the red list system in case it was needed in future.

England removes remaining countries from coronavirus travel ‘red list’

All remaining countries on England’s coronavirus travel “red list” have been removed, the Department for Transport announced Thursday.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that Peru, Panama, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Haiti and Venezuela have been taken off the list, which imposed strict infection control measures on those arriving in England.

The change — which comes into force Monday, November 1 at 4 a.m. — means passengers from those countries will no longer have to foot the bill for quarantine in a hotel.

Although there are now no countries left on the red list, the DfT is keeping the system in place should it be needed to control new variants of the virus. Shapps tweeted that retaining the list would act “as a precautionary measure to protect public health” and said ministers are “prepared to add countries and territories back if needed.”

Fully-vaccinated people traveling to England will still be required to book and pay for a COVID-19 test to be taken once they arrive and complete a passenger locator form, while anyone testing positive for the virus must self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival.

Those who are not fully vaccinated — or whose proof of vaccination is not currently recognized by the U.K. government — must also quarantine at home or the place they are staying for 10 days. Shapps announced England is adding 30 more countries — including Peru and Uganda — to the list of places whose proof of vaccination it will now accept.

Other U.K. nations are able to set their own travel rules, meaning the changes apply in England only.

Source : Politico EU More   

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Von der Leyen lays out path to unlock Polish recovery funds — with conditions

The European Commission president said Poland could receive its pandemic recovery funds after reforming certain elements of its judiciary.

Von der Leyen lays out path to unlock Polish recovery funds — with conditions

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday expressed hope the EU could find a solution with Poland over recovery funds stalled due to a rule-of-law dispute — but laid out several conditions the country must meet first.

The Commission has withheld approval of Poland’s pandemic recovery funds over the long-running disagreements, which escalated earlier this month when the Polish Constitutional Tribunal found certain tenets of EU law incompatible with the country’s constitution. Many in Brussels saw the ruling as challenging the EU’s basic legal framework.

“I think it is doable, I hope that we’ll reach an agreement, but the reform is conditio sine qua non,” von der Leyen said at a press conference in Brussels.

Recovery funds are awarded to EU countries provided they address certain reform requests, so-called Country Specific Recommendations, that the Commission issues annually. Poland has been allotted €24 billion in grants and €12 billion in low-interest loans from the recovery fund.

The Commission has a “long standing Country Specific Recommandation for Poland that is the independence of the judiciary,” von der Leyen said during her press conference.

The compromise Brussels is pushing would require Poland to commit to “dismantle the disciplinary chamber, to end or reform the disciplinary regime, and to start a process to reinstall the judges,” von der Leyen said.

These conditions are derived from the European Court of Justice’s ruling, von der Leyen said, which in mid-July found Poland’s disciplinary chamber for its justices incompatible with EU law.

“This happens to be of course also embedded in the overall ruling of the [European Court of Justice] … therefore there is consistency in what we’re asking for,” von der Leyen said.

The EU’s highest court on Wednesday hit Poland with a fine of €1 million a day — its largest-ever daily penalty — for refusing so far to dismantle the chamber. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has pledged to comply with the ruling, without offering specifics on when and how he will do so.

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Source : Politico EU More   

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