The EPP Group in the European Parliament is calling for unified European health checks and sanitary protocols for travelling and tourism, the non-discriminatory re-opening of internal European borders and targeted measures to massively aid the tourism industry after the pandemic.
“We must do what we can to save Europe’s summer”, said the EPP Group’s Marian-Jean Marinescu MEP and Roberta Metsola MEP, ahead of tomorrow’s presentation of a law package of measures to support the tourism industry and to re-open the borders in the Schengen area.
“As lockdown measures are being eased across Europe, we call on the European Commission for a targeted action plan to kick-start the tourism sector, which is so crucial for the European economy. The future of tourism businesses, hotels, airlines, travel agencies, restaurants, often family-owned, depends on support from the EU. Ensuring immediate financial support and a coordinated exit strategy will not only help tourism regions, but also rebuild the trust and confidence of all citizens who would like to go on summer holiday”, said Marinescu, the EPP Group’s Spokesman on Transport and Tourism.
“We need European-wide protocols for air, sea and train travel and common health and sanitary standards for hotels, restaurants and museums and their personnel, to make sure the local tourism infrastructure is COVID-proof. We have to strike the balance between making travelling safe, allowing for the maximum amount of freedom, at the lowest possible risk of spreading the virus”, Marinescu stressed.
The EPP Group also warns against unnecessary, prolonged internal border closures. “The closure of borders was necessary at the start of the epidemic to stop cross-border contagion. As Member States enter into exit strategies, with comprehensive internal measures in place, it is necessary to examine whether closed borders across our Schengen Zone is still required. There are options that allow for health checks and contagion control measures without sealing off our internal borders entirely”, said Metsola, the EPP Group’s Spokeswoman on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
“Improving health protocols and standards can help slow or stop the virus, not closing borders indefinitely. A well-functioning single European market needs to be part of our response to the crisis”, underlined Metsola.
Metsola expressed concern at reports of possible bilateral border openings that do not take into consideration the wider European angle. “I am not convinced that this is a method that would work or that could be enforced. What we need is a coordinated, workable, balanced European approach that is based on science and facts – not just easy headlines”, she said.