EU states call for common protocol on travel

 

The nine member states (Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania) issued a statement calling on the European Commission to include tourism in the upcoming EU Recovery Plan.

They said homogenous travel rules are needed and warned that a disorderly relaxation of lockdown measures would further distort the tourism sector. They also said the newly established SURE business loan programme, as well as fresh European Investment Funds, should support employment in the industry throughout the crisis.

Croatian tourism minister Gari Cappelli has asked for a common protocol on travel, including the “COVID-19 passport”.

This passport would provide that every EU citizen who wants to travel should have a reliable test to detect the virus. This should be done in the country where the holidays start. If a German citizen wants to visit Greece, this test will take place in Germany before going to Greece.

The common rules should be adopted for restarting rail, air, sea and road transport to ensure safe and uninterrupted movement of EU travellers.

The nine countries hope that before the end of May, agreements can be reached at least on a bilateral level with individual countries to open up tourism. 

The objective of the common plan is a travel protocol that would include security and health aspects, foresees the creation of a common document, which would be valid in all EU member states for tourist arrivals and departures.

The major flaw in the passport proposal is that the countries who benefit most, the tourist destinations, expect the countries that benefit least, the departure ones, to pay for tests and other costs. 

With some EU nations against the proposal, and limited chances that major source markets UK and USA would take part, the probability is that a skeleton proposal will be agreed on which countries can do deals with individual countries.

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