Chancellor Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel.

27-03-2021Clemens Bilan

Angela Merkel is a powerful European leader, but even she was to discover that her powers were limited when it came to moving Heaven and Earth in finding the means to prevent her fellow citizens from travelling to the unofficial seventeenth Länder of the Federal Republic of Germany.

"I will move Heaven and Earth," she had said, but the chancellor's intention ran up against some legal niceties. So rather than travel to the Heaven of Mallorca being denied, the German government changed tack and looked at ways of temporarily banning arrivals on German Earth (also problematic because of legal niceties). If only we hadn't lifted the travel advice, they must have all been asking themselves. But they had and were to discover, to their horror, that the Spanish government was displaying unimpeachable Schengen credentials and solidarity by allowing Tui and Eurowings unfettered access to both Spanish air space and Spanish airports - Palma in particular.

Perimeter closed

Meanwhile, Spanish citizens were arriving at regional borders only to discover that there were huge signs reading "perimeter closed". A succession of ministers, including the prime minister, recognised that, yes, it may have appeared a bit odd that Spaniards would be confined to their home regions while much of Germany was descending on their regions from the skies (well, one region more than others), but this was in accordance with EU regulations and agreements with regional governments.

Island hopping at Easter

Of these regional governments, the administration of Francina Armengol was all for closing the perimeters of the individual islands of the Balearics. When island councils objected, the government dropped this idea, only to subsequently issue advice against all non-essential travel between the islands over Easter. By which time, travel agencies had been inundated with bookings for Easter inter-island non-essential travel (otherwise known as going away for the holidays).

Island councils, having pleaded with the Balearic government not to close island perimeters - and succeeded - then requested that the Spanish government decree a perimeter closure for the whole of the Balearics against foreign travel. Oh well ... .

The vaccine passport of June

Ministerial work is clearly unaffected by travel restrictions. Essential work, Spanish ministers were on tour in Mallorca. Leading the way was the tourism minister, Reyes Maroto. The vaccine passport will be ready by June, she announced. A significant percentage of the population will have been vaccinated by then, she stated. But we were left to guess what this percentage might actually be. Was it thirty, was it seventy? And when she said vaccinated, did she just mean vaccinated or did she have immunised in mind? Whatever - the passport will be ready anyway, or so said the minister.

Not quite 1,000 million euros

The last of the four ministers, Nadia Calviño, was due to have arrived on Monday. Third deputy prime minister and in charge of economic affairs, Calviño's visit was the most anticipated as she was on her way to explain the details of the Spanish government's lavish aid package for Balearic businesses. The visit was postponed on Friday, a day after Congress had agreed to what everyone in the Balearics had thought was a deal worth 1,000 million euros. It then turned out that it wasn't - 855.7 million euros was the figure.

Businesses will therefore have to now wait until after Easter to hear first-hand from the minister. These businesses will include bars and restaurants which, from Friday, were obliged to once more put up the interior closed sign.

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Pedro / Hace 8 months

Enticing tourists from a foreign nation with a soaring infection rate to come and enjoy their holidays, whilst further restricting nationals in favour of them is a very badly thought through policy.

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