Schengen Area Borders Might Remain Closed Until Summer, Says EU Commissioner

The external borders of the Schengen Area will probably remain shut until summer, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Thierry Breton said on Tuesday, speaking for French-Monegasque radio station RMC.

According to Commissioner Breton, the issue is still being discussed, while revealing that there will be additional constraints to respect and pointing out that the battle against the Coronavirus has not been won yet.

I see impatience, five weeks of confinement is long, and we are asking questions, but we have to come back to realistic things,” the Commissioner said during his interview.

Later during the Tuesday videoconference with EU lawmakers, asked by the MEPS on the reopening of borders, the Commissioner said that this would depend on the health situation, asserting that border closure and controls lifting needs to be done through coordinated actions of Member States.

We will do our utmost to make sure we are as harmonized as possible in trying to allow controlled movement and travel while meeting obligations and measures,” he told MEPs.

He also told to MEPs during the videoconference that tourism is one of the hardest-hit sectors in the current health crisis in Europe, announcing that a special summit in September or October could be organized to deal with the fallout of the pandemic.

During the morning interview with RMC, he also talked about the topic of tourism and its revival.

We need a real plan for tourism,” Commissioner Breton said.

According to the World Tourism Organization, the industry will suffer a drop in activity in 2020, which will cost 300 to 500 billion euros worldwide or almost a third of the revenue generated in 2019.

The organization estimates that France alone will see a loss of 40 billion euros per one quarter alone, while millions of jobs could be lost at the European level.

Only today the French Transport and Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne called on French citizens not to plan vacancies outside the country for this summer, reminding them adding that it is a priority to allow activities resume from May 11 and on, and not to travel long distances.

On the meantime, the Czech Republic’s President Milos Zeman has suggested that all borders of the country should remain sealed off for a year, in order to prevent another surge of infections in the country, that may be caused from arrivals from outside.

Whereas in mid-April, the French President Emanuel Macron warned that the external borders of the Schengen Area and the Schengen Associated States might remain shut until September, as a measure against another wave of Coronavirus infections in the territory that may be caused by an outer factor, as travellers coming from the US and other countries.


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