11 European nations arrange for reopening of borders

Kisbon, May 19 (IANS) Foreign ministers from 11 European countries have agreed on the terms for reopening of the borders and restoring the freedom of movement of citizens amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a joint declaration.

Via video-conference on Monday, representatives from Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Slovenia concerted to restore “freedom of movement and circulation in the European Union (EU)”, Xinhua news agency quoted the declaration released by the Portuguese Diplomatic portal as saying.

Based on the principles of proportionality and non-discrimination, the Ministers agreed that, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Europe needed to go further.

The meeting defined the “survey of border control measures, resumption of transport and connectivity services, in addition to the progressive restart of tourism services and health protocols in hotel establishments”, said the declaration.

The opening will be done in stages, coordinated between EU member states and gradual to “avoid the risk that a rise in infections will get out of control”, it added.

The declaration said that countries had combined to work on a “common understanding of health standards and procedures in a progressive manner.”

“We urge the tourism industry and related private actors to take advantage of the coming weeks to take appropriate preventive measures so that they can protect travellers as soon as freedom of movement and travel is restored,” it said.

“Even though the situation regarding the pandemic is different in each country, our goal is to coordinate in order to restore freedom of movement to travel safely.”



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