Yesterday, Greece and ten other European Union member states agreed on a set of principles to ensure the freedom of safe travel within the EU. The move, in an effort to move past the Covid-19 pandemic, will bring forth broad coordination of tourism policies and border controls between the states.
According to the news from a teleconference, the ministers of foreign affairs of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Austria, and Slovenia, fundamentally agree on free movement and travel between the states.
The ministers based their discussion around the guidelines announced recently by the European Commission for restoring tourism and transport in the post-COVID-19 days. According to their statements, the ministers’ agreement focuses on a phased and coordinated approach for lifting internal border controls.
According to the joint statement, four principles were agreed on:
- We believe that an approach of phased steps, coordinated and agreed among EU Member States, is the best way to achieve a gradual normalization of cross-border traveling.
- Exploring ways of allowing traveling while avoiding that the risk of an increase in infections gets out of hand will be key.
- It will be crucial to ensure that our citizens cannot just travel freely within Europe, but can also safely return home. Thus, we need to coordinate closely regarding conditions for lifting rules of confinement and of quarantine and regarding the restoration of transport services. In this context, it will also be important to work on a common understanding of health-related standards and procedures.
- We believe the restoration of the freedom of cross-border movements can be achieved progressively, provided current positive trends continue leading to comparable epidemiological situations in countries of origin and of destination. The reopening of border-crossings incl
The ministers called on tourism businesses and related private actors to use the coming weeks to take appropriate precautionary measures to protect travelers once freedom of movement and traveling is restored. Their statement went on to point to the crucial element for “rebuilding public trust in the safety of traveling,” as well.
The states also expressed their “common goal” to coordinate their approach among European partners as closely as possible – even though the situation concerning the Covid-19 pandemic continues to differ from country to country – with a view to restoring freedom of movement and safe travel in the near future.
Greece has held the number of coronavirus infections to 2,836 people so far. The death toll as of this report stands at 165, which is one of the lowest in all the EU. Greece has announced entering into its Stage 3 in lifting Covid-19 restrictions.