Friday

7th Aug 2020

Coronavirus

Conflicting signs ahead of EU summer holiday 'roadmap'

  • While France hopes for some form of holidays, Germany has extended its warning for all non-essential travel until at least mid-June and foreign minister Heiko Maas has spoken up against a race to see who will allow tourism first (Photo: cedric.chan)

French president Emmanuel Macron has warned that international travel trips will be unlikely this summer and that even travelling within the European Union might be limited.

"It is too soon to say whether we can take holidays. We will know early June," Macron said on Tuesday (4 May).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"We will limit major international travel even during the summer holidays. We will stay among Europeans and, depending on how the epidemic evolves, we might have to reduce that a little more," he added.

The EU shut down its borders until mid-May as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, although cross-border travel within the bloc is still permitted under certain exceptions.

Additionally, most member states have imposed 14-day-quarantine period for those arriving into their territory, including their own nationals, to stop the spread of the virus.

However, a new debate started this week when France clarified that, once the country starts easing lockdown restrictions from May 11, this measure would not apply to "anyone arriving from the European Union, the Schengen zone or Britain, regardless of their nationality".

Although it is still unclear how the quarantine will apply to French and EU citizens arriving into the country from outside the bloc, Schengen area or UK.

According to the European Commission, any restrictive measure on free movement is justified in the interest of public health as long as they are "proportionate and non-discriminatory".

Likewise, the European Citizen Action Service stressed that a coordinated EU-approach for quarantine measures must be in place to avoid questions linked to: lack of public awareness, lack of training of the civil servants who must inform citizens (as the instructions could change very often) or uniform application of national restrictions depending on whether a mobile citizen enters by car (often without any checks) or by other transport.

This might be why British airlines warned the UK government on Sunday that 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the country "would effectively kill air travel" and "shut off the UK from the rest of the world".

Meanwhile, Germany has extended its warning for all non-essential travelling until at least mid-June and its foreign minister Heiko Maas has spoken up against "a European race to see who will allow tourism travel first".

"The government is warning against all non-essential tourist foreign travel since travellers can expect to find quarantine measures in place worldwide along with drastic restrictions on both public life and air and other transport services," said the German government in a statement.

However, several countries - Australia, Austria, Israel, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece and New Zealand - have launched an alliance to reopen the borders between each other for this summer, the Wall Street Journal reported.

As a result, travelling this summer from Greece to Israel could be easier than from Greece to Italy, but it is unclear how these unilateral agreements might affect the coronavirus strategy of the bloc.

Austria and the Czech Republic, meanwhile, want to have bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries such as Germany to allow tourists to enter the country during the summer.

The European Commission is set to unveil next Wednesday (13 May) a roadmap focussed on the tourism sector, especially regarding EU's restrictions on non-essential travelling, internal borders, travel vouchers, resumption of passenger transport and protocols for hotels and accommodations.

EU Commission clash with countries over travel refund

Twelve EU countries have asked the commission to temporarily suspend rules that require travel operators to provide cash refunds for cancelled trips. The commission argues consumers have to be protected - and that vouchers should be made more attractive.

Vestager pushes tracing apps as key for summer holidays

The commissioner for the digital portfolio, Margrethe Vestager, warned that "without the technology, it will be very difficult to open [society] to the degree that we all want" - since new outbreaks might surge back until there is a vaccine.

New rules coming for Europeans' summer travel

The commission will out forward guidelines for safe travel, as some member states and companies are already drawing up plans to restart tourism under the threat of the pandemic.

Opinion

EU can safely rescue summer season in Europe

Measures deemed necessary at the start of the epidemic in Europe to stop cross-border contagion are now becoming disproportionate in light of the lighter national internal measures in place, writes Manfred Weber, chairman of the European People's Party.

News in Brief

  1. Germany breached rights of Madeleine McCann suspect
  2. EU offers trade perks to Lebanon
  3. Germany charges four ex-Audi chiefs on emissions cheating
  4. UK quarantines Belgium, as European infections climb
  5. Bulgaria's Borissov mulls resignation
  6. EU prolongs anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel
  7. Swedish economy contracted less during April to June
  8. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion

Opinion

Italy has a responsibility, too

Little wonder the leaders of Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden are unwilling to sign off: they're not going to give money so the Italians can fund a tax cut in the middle of an economic crisis.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Iraqis paid €2,000 each agree to leave Greece
  2. EU's most sustainable islands are Danish 'Sunshine Islands'
  3. Worrying rows over future EU chemicals policy
  4. Rainbow flag protesters charged by Polish police
  5. An open letter to the EPP on end of Hungary's press freedom
  6. Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence
  7. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery
  8. Azerbaijan ambassador to EU shared anti-George Floyd post

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us