Opening borders within the European Union

Opening borders within the European Union


2020-05-02 14:46:00

The threat of a coronavirus pandemic was so rapid and unpredictable that supranational European structures, usually not too hasty in making and implementing decisions, simply did not have time to react. On the other hand, national governments, frightened by Italy 's example, wasted no time in consultation and coordination, and introduced quarantine regimes and blocked borders in an early regime. And now that the threats of economic losses from quarantine "downtime" with their catastrophic prospects are beginning to prevail over the fear of a coronavirus pandemic, the peak of which Europe has obviously already passed, it is national governments that are gradually emerging from quarantine and normalization of economic life.


Interestingly, although each European State has decided to introduce and abolish the quarantine on its own, all these strategies are limited to one general scheme. And with few exceptions, it concerns lifting the restrictions in stages, with pauses of about two weeks, in order to fully control the situation. As the Prime Minister of France Edouard Philippe explained, presenting the national program of the country 's withdrawal from quarantine before the Parliament: "We will prepare in stages by May 11 (the date of the beginning of the cancellation of the quarantine), monitoring all indicators, checking one department after another, so that the return to usual work mode will go as smoothly as possible. If the indicators do not satisfy us, we will not proceed from the quarantine of May 11 or put stricter conditions. "


Even the Italy and Spain, the most affected by coronavirus countries, plan to begin lifting restrictions in May to restore the economy a little bit. In particular, from May 4 in Spain will already open hairdressers, some sports centers, part of offices and restaurants. However, visitors there will be allowed to allow no more than a third of the available revenge. The Spanish Prime Minister expressed hope by the end of June the country will return to the usual life. In Italy, however, the government is not in a hurry to announce specific dates. This has already caused a wave of indignation among representatives of the restaurant business, which produces a significant share of Italian GDP.


One of the most diffiult question that stands in front of Europeans is about the prospects of completing the era of harsh quarantines - the problem of opening borders and restoring transport links. There 's no common scheme here. The only state in Europe that has opened its borders, and that is only for its citizens, is the Czech Republic. This was done on 27 April in response to a court decision recognizing previous measures taken by the Government to combat the spread of coronavirus in violation of the laws of the country. "You can travel abroad, even on vacation. But anyone who returns will have to confirm the negative result of the coronavirus test or spend two weeks in home quarantine, "- described the measures Minister of Health of the country Adam Voiteh.


Austria is also taking some initiative to restore transport links, which has already resumed air traffic in five European destinations. At the whole Europe level, it proposes to restore transport links between the "safest States." Also in May should agree on mutual opening of borders and Baltic countries - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.


However, most countries are preparing to restore movement within the European Union only in the summer. Thus, as part of the measures to weaken the quarantine, the Czech authorities hope to open borders with neighbouring countries - Poland, Slovakia, Austria and Germany - in July.


So far, there are not only plans, but also forecasts of when the European space without borders will work again. Without reliable means of combating coronavirus, no one dares open borders to millions of travellers. Another pressing problem - the shortage of seasonal labour - will have to be addressed by European states in the absence of the usual visa-free regime. This will seriously complicate internal migration within the EU.


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