EU to unveil summer holiday plans amid Schengen fears

Sallie Anderson

The EU’s external borders will be closed down till mid-June as a step to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, although cross-border travel within the bloc might be resumed previously.

The European Commission is set to reveal a three-phase technique on Wednesday (13 May) to slowly resume internal borders.

” The main requirements that need to be utilized [by member states] to keep or raise internal border is the approximation of the epidemiological scenario in various countries,” the head of the commission’s directorate-general for home affairs, Monique Pariat, informed MEPs in the committee on civil liberties ahead of the statement.

“The process will be complicated. Member states have introduced different measures in a very uncoordinated manner and unwinding these different national decisions will take some time,” Pariatadded


“The challenge which lies ahead of us is to restore the integrity of the Schengen area, in concretely by returning to the unrestrictive freedom of movement of persons, goods and services,” she alerted.

In the first stage, internal borders controls ought to be raised in a collaborated way, in which member states ought to notify each other of their intentions to ease limitations to restrict the influence on the internal market, transportation sector and complimentary motion, the Croatian minister of the interior Terezija Gras, whose nation holds the EU’s council presidency, informed MEPs on Tuesday (12 May).

“Restrictions on travel should first be eased between areas with a comparable low circulation of the virus, although regional specificities should be considered,” sheadded


After internal borders are resumed, limitations on the EU’s external borders would be raised. This mix “will eventually lead to restoring the normal functioning of the Schengen area,” Gras likewise stated.

Previously this year, the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen stated that travel restrictions and border closures were not seen by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most efficient step to stop the spread of the infection.

‘ No bilateral offers’

On the other hand, the commission has actually spoken versus bilateral contracts in between member states – worrying that all EU people ought to be permitted to cross a border as soon as is open, no matter their citizenship.

Similarly, the commission alerted European countries that have actually presented 14- day quarantines for visitors entering their area that this step need to be “proportional and non-discriminatory”.

“Member states will first lift restrictions at home based on objective criteria, not on nationality or proximity. Once member states allow travelling to an area they must not discriminate,” alerted the commissioner for home affairs, Ylva Johansson, on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, for one example, stated recently that he plans to open the borders this summer for travelers originating from “safe countries” like Germany or the Czech Republic.

And recent reports show that a number of countries – Australia, Austria, Israel, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Singapore and New Zealand – are working to open “possible travel corridors” in between each other for this summer, what might suggest that travelling this summer from Greece to Israel might be simpler than from Greece to Italy.

Death of Schengen – once again

“The serious risk we are facing today is the death of Schengen, we simply cannot afford this,” alerted socialist MEP Tanja Fajon.

“It is in a very poor and problematic state. It has been hit years ago by the refugee crisis and the virus delivered another blow,” she added

The concept of complimentary motion of people in the EU was first in major danger in 2015 when some member mentions presented border checks due to the migration crisis – a few of them even kept those controls in location.

“The freedom to move across and around Europe without check-in borders and restrictions is one of the major achievement of the EU integration and restore it as soon as possible is a priority for the commission – also taking into account the economic cost of border restrictions,” stated director-general Parait.

The commission promised to prioritise tourist in an EU recovery strategy as it is approximated that the tourist market might deal with loses of up to EUR400 bn.

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