Greece, Spain, the Czech Republic and Croatia are all considering some kind of safe passage for tourists wishing to holiday in their countries this summer, but as yet no timetable as to when European Union borders will open has been set. Austria has somewhat taken the lead by announcing that hotels across the country will be able to reopen on the 29th of May, although Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, is pushing for Austrians to spend their vacations in Austria this year.
Close cooperation between Member States and EU-level coordination are the keys to loosening measures at the union's internal borders, introduced to curb the coronavirus epidemic, the Croatian Interior Minister, Davor Bozinovic, said yesterday.
The initial shutdown in the Europe Union began on the 17th of March, with all members entering into the arrangement to close down their borders.
"Regarding the phasing out of the measures, we agreed that close cooperation between member states and coordination at EU level remains crucial if we are to avoid a new peak in the epidemic in Europe," Bozinovic said after a video conference of EU interior ministers.
Bozinovic points out that restrictions will be phased out gradually in areas where there is comparatively less risk of recurrence of the virus.
"With regard to the abolition of controls at internal borders, we agreed that we should be cautious, as well as considering the possibility of reopening the external borders of the EU. Most of my colleagues have said that their decisions to abolish these measures will be in line with the epidemiological situation and with appropriate application of hygiene measures, social distancing and other protective measures," Bozinovic said.
Home Affairs Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, has announced that she will present a proposal for a gradual and coordinated abolition of internal border measures for the next videoconference of the interior ministers. The question of opening internal borders inside the EU is crucial to planning the tourist season, which is massively under threat from the COVID-19 pandemic.