Rome opposes ‘blacklisting’ and bilateral deals on tourism

“From 3 June, we will be able to travel among the Italian regions and we are ready to welcome safely European citizens who want to spend their holidays in our country, as is the case each year. Our structures are ready”, Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio said during a video conference with counterparts from 10 countries.

Di Maio also said there should be no “blacklists” among European countries.

“If we don’t change direction soon, there will be serious consequences for the tourism sector in all European countries,” the minister said, adding that “bilateral agreements on tourist flows are against the EU’s spirit”. Italy will provide all countries with a weekly report on the situation of each region, Di Maio added.

The European Commission recently presented its recommendations on holidays this summer, emphasising the need for harmonised rules and against discriminating EU citizens because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Germany also opposes bilateral deals that could trigger a “tourism war” and pushes for an overall solution.

On the other hand, it seems that countries that dealt with the pandemic relatively successfully compared to others are eyeing separate deals.

According to the Czech foreign ministry, Greece could be among the first destinations to open its borders to Czech tourists.

“The Greek minister assured us that the vast majority of islands will be open to Czechs. We are also considering an option to enter Greece without a test,” Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek said after his videoconference with Greek Tourism Minister Charis Theoharis.

This week, the Czech Republic will negotiate opening its borders with its neighbouring countries. On Tuesday (19 May), the Visegrad Group leaders will discuss the border regime in a videoconference that will also be joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

(Valentina Iorio | EURACTIV.it, Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)

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