Germany to lift travel warning for Europe

For travel warnings to non-EU countries, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) is waiting for the decision of the EU Commission this week. [EPA-EFE | Abrizio Bensch / Pool]

On 15 June, the German travel warnings for EU countries including the extended Schengen area and UK will end, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday (3 June). For the time being, Spain and Norway are excluded, as long as curfews and entry bans still apply there. EURACTIV Germany reports.

The travel warnings are replaced by individual travel advisories, on the basis of which one can assess the potential risks.

In this respect, Maas emphasised that “travel warnings are not an invitation to travel.”

“We have not made it easy for ourselves with this decision,” said the Foreign Minister. “The background to the decision was the positive development in many countries, where infection rates are declining and public life is resuming.”

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The European Commission will adopt a comprehensive strategy on Wednesday (13 May) – already seen by EURACTIV – which aims to make sure governments reopen for tourism business in a coordinated manner. The EU executive will also wade into the divisive ‘voucher-vs-refund-gate’ debate.

German emergency brake threshold for foreign countries

However, “the pandemic is far from over,” said Maas.

To prevent a resurgence in tourism from leading to a second wave of infection, the German government intends to closely monitor the situation in other countries.

In doing so, it is using an instrument already in place to monitor German regions: the so-called ’emergency brake threshold.’ Should a country register more than 50 newly infected persons per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, Germany would have to react and, if necessary, issue another travel warning.

Maas also made it clear that the unprecedented repatriation efforts of German citizens in the spring would not be repeated. This was part of the cabinet decision, he said.

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In today’s edition of the Capitals, find out more about German Economy Minister Altmaier proposing to bail out companies but with conditions, Croatia’s attempts to help the heavily impacted tourism sector weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coordination with Brussels

With regard to travel warnings for non-EU states, the German government is waiting for the European Commission’s decision this week. It is expected that the matter will be dealt with in next week’s cabinet meeting.

The control of the criteria to assess the EU security situation (apart from the emergency brake threshold) is set to be harmonized on a European level. This includes, for example, the capacities of the health system or the question of whether infected persons can be returned to their home countries.

[Edited by Benjamin Fox]

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