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France suspends transit ban for UK nationals

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Cars and trucks line up at the entrance of the Eurotunnel in Folkestone, Kent, the UK. (Photo by Reuters)

The French government has suspended a road travel prohibition for UK nationals, allowing Britons to drive through France to reach their residential homes in EU member states.

The decision came on Friday, after the UK government criticized the French move to ban UK nationals from transiting across France and asked for “urgent clarification” from the government in Paris on Thursday.

Based on the new decision, British families and individuals will be able to pass through France to return to their homes in EU countries after spending Christmas in the UK.

Speaking to the AFP news agency, a spokesman for the French Interior Ministry confirmed his government’s decision and said, “A large number of British nationals residing in an EU country have traveled 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 official added.

Despite the suspension of the transit ban, people from the UK are still largely banned from going to France unless they have a compelling reason. Non-essential travel has been banned since October 18 in an attempt to stop the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Paris and London have recently been at odds over a couple of issues, including immigration crisis and fishing rights. France says Britain has refused to grant its fishermen the full number of licenses warranted to operate in British waters. The UK claims that the rejected French boats have not been able to provide the required documents for obtaining a license.


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