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Europe Borders Opening?

In France, the presidents of the Travel Companies (Jean-Pierre Mas) and the Tour Operators Union (René-Marc Chikli) which represent 3,500 companies that employ 35,000 people said that they do not anticipate a resumption of concrete activity of tourism given the current state of border closure before 2021.

“Without the slightest receipt, our companies continue to assist their customers, take care of their repatriations, issue credit notes, manage particularly complex relationships with airlines which have freed themselves from the application of European regulation 261/2004” the presidents pointed out.

On May 11, France has planned to lift its lockdown measures, but the government clarified that the process would happen gradually.

Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs in France, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, said that as for now it is too early to give a perspective and cannot provide answers to French citizens who wish to organize summer holidays.

April 26th 2020, The European Union outlined an exit strategy to restart cross-border operation, including air travel, the purpose is to provide the Member States with a similar strategy towards the lifting of restrictions.

According to the EU’s Transport Commissioner, Adina Valean the guidelines will be set out by mid-May, pointing out that even if the exit strategy is adopted by all Member States, the timing depends on the health situation, and how the situation develops in the following weeks.

“Probably by mid-May we can put forward the strategy we’re working on,” Commissioner Valean said, speaking to the media last week.

According to her the guidelines on restoring travel and tourism this season, include measures as social distancing, rules within airports and on-board aircraft – covering such aspects as disinfection – and the wearing of protective equipment.

Valean however, refuses to say when the services will be restored, as according to her, the health situation needs to be prioritized.

It’s better to have a harmonized approach than see each one taking its own measures,” she said, highlighting how essential coordination between member states is.

I know for a fact, this health crisis is here to stay for a long time until we can find a good treatment or vaccine… I think the measures proven to be efficient, like social distancing, are going to be respected one way or another. For transport, this is very important,” she said.

The Commission has already drawn up a joint ‘roadmap’ towards lifting containment measures in response to the need for an exit strategy.

While the timing and specific modalities will differ between member states, it is essential that there is a common frameworkLack of coordination in lifting restrictive measures risks having negative effects for all member states and creating political friction,” she says.

While the number of Coronavirus infected cases increases in the world, the EU and its Member States have been looking forward to a way to lift the existing measures and restore the sector of tourism. At the same time, officials from the EU and the governments of the states have hinted that the Schengen Area border closure may remain in place until September.

The French Minister of Interior Christophe Castaner himself said last week that opening the Schengen Area its borders before summer is a premature act while the Coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, thus backing the President Emanuel Macron statements. Days earlier, Macron was the first to point out that the Schengen Area may remain shut for non-EU citizens and residents until September.

News from official Schengen Information

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