BRUSSELS – Reopening of borders

Belgium’s foreign affairs minister Philippe Goffin (MR) met with his French, Dutch, German and Luxembourg counterparts in recent days to consider the gradual lifting of restrictions on the 1,385km common border with the four countries.

“During the crisis, Belgium managed to find a good balance between health, human and economic aspects. While strongly limiting non-essential travel, Belgium was able to continue to play its role as a logistics hub in order to allow many European citizens to return home,” Goffin said in a press release.

In a recent interview, Goffin confirmed that the country would follow the Commission’s recommendation to reopen to Europeans, giving priority to regions that are in a comparable situation.

“Other aspects must now be considered such as visits to relatives abroad, the usual purchases made in neighbouring countries, the continuity of maintenance of real estate abroad …,” the foreign minister said in Monday’s press release.

According to the Belgian diplomat, restrictions can only be lifted on two conditions: the same approach to the disease on both sides of the border and a controlled level of contamination, followed by a reopening fully concerted with other states.

Phase 3 of the deconfinement plan, which is meant to include conditions on tourism, will not come into effect until at least 8 June.

(Alexandra Brzozowski | EURACTIV.com)

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