European Union push forward to reopen internal borders

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 14, 2020, 03:05 PM IST
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In Europe, the tourism sector accounts for about 10 per cent of the whole bloc's economy. But, with inevitable lockdown--the sector has suffered an unimaginable loss.

The European Union has pushed for gradual reopening of internal borders--which are shut due to the coronavirus pandemic. The commission has expressed that it was not too late to salvage the summer season for tourism and has also recommended a phased approach to reopen the borders.

EU recommendations for tourism & travel
- overall strategy on the recovery of tourism in 2020
- coordinated, gradual and safe lifting of restrictions
- a framework to ensure the safety of passengers & personnel
- use vouchers as an attractive alternative for travellers
- ensure health protocols are followed in all public spaces 

In Europe, the tourism sector accounts for about 10 per cent of the whole bloc's economy. But, with inevitable lockdown--the sector has suffered an unimaginable loss.

Now, the EU has urged member nations to adopt unrestricted free movement once again and has envisaged a framework to revive the travel and tourism business across the continent.
EU commission executive vice-president, Margrethe Vestager, said: "People need of course to be able to travel between European countries. So we're giving guidance on how to gradually re-open transport links without risking the health of travellers or transport workers. Third (point): travellers and workers, they need to know that the places that the tourists visit are safe. Hotels, restaurants, beaches, other tourist sights, they need to be run in a way that minimizes the risk of passing on the coronavirus."

Potential travel corridors of EU
- Austria to reopen border with Germany and Czech soon
- Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania to reopen each other's border
- Greece to reopen borders with Cyprus, Austria & Germany  
- Israel, non-EU member likely to open its border for Greece

Countries like Italy, Spain, and France--which are battered by coronavirus pandemic are also some of the major tourist destinations in Europe.

The governments of these three countries are already strategising an exit plan for lockdown and likely to restart operations soon.

Austria and Germany plan to fully reopen their border and Switzerland with an exception of Italy will start free travel on June 15.

Authorities in Spain are planning to keep the country's borders closed until July. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the aim was to eliminate border controls from June 15 across the Schengen area. However, experts have warned about a possible second wave of infections.

EU transport commissioner, Adina Valean, about compensations offered by companies over cancelled travel or holidays due to the COVID-19 pandemic said: "Of course, we are the guardians of the (European Union) treaty and we are looking at how (European Union) member states are implementing legislation (on customers' right) and if this situation of infringing the European law would emerge in various member states, of course, we are determined to take steps but this would be I would say a different letter, a letter of infringement, a different letter from the one I'm going to send with (European justice) commissioner (Didier) Reynders tomorrow."

Most EU member nations have imposed emergency border control rules and have adopted strict social distancing measures.

More than 6 million people in the are currently jobless and the tourism sector is at the brink of collapse.

As of now, the deadly virus has infected more than 1.6 million and has killed over 157,000 in Europe.