COVID-19 Passport

Nine southern member states have called on the EU to come up with an “homogenous” plan to help tourism mitigate the catastrophic financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

At a videoconference yesterday (27 April), 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 would be needed and warned that a disorderly relaxation of lockdown measures would further distort the tourism sector. They also said the newly established SURE programme, as well as fresh European Investment Funds, should support employment in the industry throughout the crisis.

The Commission is due to make recommendations on summer holidays this year, which according to President Ursula von der Leyen will have to be “smart”.

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

This passport would provide that every EU citizen who wants to travel should have a reliable test to detect the virus. According to Greek tourism minister Charis Theocharis, this should be done in the country where the holidays start. If, for example, a German citizen wants to visit Greece, this test will take place in Germany before coming to Greece.

Theocharis also said that common rules should be adopted for restarting air, sea and road transport to ensure safe and uninterrupted movement of EU travellers.

Croatia’s Cappelli expressed his hope that before the end of May, agreements could be reached at least on a bilateral level with individual countries to open up tourism corridors, adding that a respectable number of countries are interested in such an option. Read more.

(Karla Junicic, | Sarantis Michalopoulos)

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