Foreign minister denies Portugal is China’s ‘special friend in the EU’

Foreign affairs minister reacts to British torpedoing of Portugal’s summer

Minister for Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva has reacted to the British government’s decision to remove Portugal from its ‘green list’ for quarantine free travel from next Tuesday, saying it is a decision “the logic” of which “we cannot understand”.

“Portugal continues to carry out its prudent and gradual deconfinement plan with clear rules for the safety of those who live here and those who visit us”, Mr Santos Silva tweeted this afternoon.

It has to be said that the minister hedged his bets three weeks ago when the UK announced Portugal was the only European destination on the ‘green’ list for quarantine free travel, recalling how the country was ‘scuppered’ by a similar u-turn last summer, coincidentally after only three weeks of what in that era was known as a ‘travel corridor/ airbridge’.

Meantime, all media reports are describing the shockwaves today’s news has sent through hospitality and travel sectors. 

Bloomberg, for example, has described how airline stocks have ‘tumbled’: by 3.30pm EasyJet shares had fallen by 6.07%; International Airlines Group had dropped by 5.67%, Ryanair by 4.26% and TUI by 3.87%.

Virgínia Messina, senior vice-president of the World Travel and Tourism Council told Bloomberg the British government had “once again ignored the tourism sector”.

Cancelling quarantine-free travel for Portugal with such short notice “will destroy confidence necessary for people to travel, reduce future reservations and dissuade tourists”, she said.