Opening the borders: a fragmented Europe after Covid

European states are reopening their borders in scattered order. Hard to find the way around this deconfigured but disharmonized union. Open or closed borders? France 24 takes stock.

While the countries of the European Union (EU) are gradually being defined, the Schengen area member states are reopening their borders in a random way and advocating a difficult return to normal.

However, EU legislation frames these reopens. “It is up to each Member State to close its own borders, but they must do so under the Schengen Code,” recalls Alberto Alemanno, professor of European law interviewed by France 24.

“We have to respect certain criteria and these measures must be justified and proportionate,” he said. Also condemns “discrimination” by some citizens, forced to observe quarantine or subject to border control.

Within the EU, these equally varied situations between the various Member States, according to Alberto Alemanno, stem from the lack of harmonization from European authorities. “It is true that the European Commission tried to coordinate both the introduction and repeal of these measures. But it did not succeed,” points out the law professor.

Awaiting the meeting on the reopening of borders between the EU’s interior ministers, which will be held on Friday, June 5 by video conference, France will take 24 stocks.

  • In Italy, European tourists were generally welcomed

Italy is an exception in the Schengen area. On Wednesday, it took the step by opening its borders to European tourists. “After weeks of enormous sacrifices, there is enthusiasm in the air, a renewed social life,” rejoined Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. The stakes are high for Italy: the country, which is experiencing its worst recession since World War II, has a vital need to see tourists return.

Rome is therefore putting pressure on the other Member States to restore freedom of movement on European soil. The head of Italian diplomacy, Luigi Di Maio, met on Wednesday in Rome with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and on this occasion asked “reciprocity” to his European partners for the reopening of borders.

>> Also read:Covid-19: Italy opens its borders again to save its tourism industry

Fearing a resumption of the epidemic, Switzerland and Austria are turning a deaf ear and keeping their Italian borders closed, causing discontent in Rome.

“Italy can show that our current situation is better than in some parts of the old continent,” Luigi Di Maio defended. Announces that Austria and Italy will compare their epidemiological data

  • A major reopening is underway in Belgium

Some European countries intend to adopt a strategy near Italy, but later. From June 15, Belgium will open its borders to and from EU countries, the UK, as well as the other four countries in the Schengen area, announced Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès on Wednesday, citing Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Leave the country, but to go there, and under what conditions If Belgium allows departure and arrival for travelers, this is not necessarily the case for all European countries. “However, be careful […]on the terms [par chaque pays]”, the prime minister warned and urged travelers to inquire in advance.

>> Also read:Opening the EU’s external borders: what prospects for the slides?

Yet the government remains safe. On Wednesday, Belgian Interior Minister Pieter De Crem said to count on the principle of “reciprocity” when crossing borders. In the Schengen area, which has a total of 26 countries, he said, “there are still some reluctant, [mais] most countries would agree to open their borders around June 15.

  • France for June 15

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said he was “too” for the reopening of Europe’s internal borders from June 15. He mentioned the possibility of “fourteen” missing for travelers coming to France, unless their country required it for French nationals, in which case Paris would apply a “reciprocity” principle.

  • In Greece, tourists from Europe and elsewhere, from 15 June

Greece is determined to revitalize its tourism industry and is already preparing for the arrival of tourists. The country has allowed the two main airports in Athens and Thessaloniki to welcome visitors from about thirty countries from June 15. This list consists of a majority of EU Member States, Greece’s main customers, including France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom.

  • In Spain, cacophony on the reopening of land borders

European tourists who want to travel to Spain have to wait until 1your The Iberian Peninsula will open its land borders with France and Portugal on this date and not June 22, as the Tourism Minister indicated earlier.

  • These countries are partially reopening

Several countries have planned to partially open their borders and thus establish a – controversial – selection of citizens.

For example, the UK government is considering establishing bridges with some countries, which would make it possible to avoid many travelers entering the UK from observing quarantine.

Covid-19: Towards a gradual reopening of borders between EU member states?

Another example of partial opening: Austria. Since Thursday, the country has stopped systematic checks at its land borders, except for those with Italy. Travelers from Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, beyond the Czech Republic and Hungary will no longer have to observe a quarantine or present a negative test for Covid-19.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg has said he will keep restrictions on Italy because of the epidemic, but intends to analyze the situation again next week.

>> See also:Covid-19: closed or open borders, update on the situation in Europe

As for the Netherlands, the Dutch government announced on Wednesday a relaxation of the warnings on tourist trips for several European countries. Non-essential travel will no longer be deterred in twelve European countries, including Germany, Belgium and Italy.

However, they will not be recommended after June 15, especially to the UK and Sweden, where health risks are estimated to be “higher”, according to the government.

Germany has also taken similar measures since the government decided on Wednesday to lift its warnings for tourist trips in Europe from June 15.

  • When will the EU’s external borders open again?

At present, the EU’s external borders remain closed until further notice. But the matter should arrive at the negotiating table soon. For the head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Drian, “it will be necessary, about June 15, to know what we will do for our external borders” and require “necessary coordination” between the member states.