The number of new coronavirus cases across Europe has steadily declined over the last few weeks. Western European countries, which were the worst hit, have announced independent decisions to open borders. At least 17 of the Schengen zone’s 26 nations currently have various travel restrictions in place. Next month onwards, many of these restrictions will begin to relax to allow trade and tourism and a revival of the economy.
Around mid-March, the European Union (EU) had decided to close external borders for non-essential travel. However, the region’s economy is suffering each day. EU has finally announced that the opening of borders is imperative to a return to normalcy.
The EU’s Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said this week:
“Restrictions on free movement and internal border controls will need to be lifted gradually before we can remove restrictions at the external borders and guarantee access to the EU for non-EU residents for non-essential travel,”
Where can you travel?
Despite the decision to open borders, various countries are still concerned about the safety of their country. A strategic plan is hence being initiated in the form of ‘travel bubbles.’ As the name suggests, few countries have collaboratively formed small pockets within which travel will be allowed. For example, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have opened borders to allow travel within these three countries.
These are the countries that are planning to open their borders:
- Austria: Borders to open on June 15, for neighboring countries
- Belgium: Reopen to international tourists by June 15
- Czech Republic: Borders with Austria and Germany to open by June 15
- Denmark: Copenhagen and Billund airports are open. A firm decision by June 1
- Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania: ‘Travel bubble’
- France: Borders with Switzerland and Germany to open by June 15
- Germany: Travel between Switzerland, France, and Austria, from June 15
- Greece: Open to all internationals starting June 15, flights to resume July onwards.
- Hungary: Travel to and fro Austria starting June 15.
- Iceland: June 15 onwards, a health certificate will be required on entry.
- Ireland, Sweden: Arrivals from the UK.
- Italy: Borders are due to reopen to tourists on June 3.
- Netherlands: Borders are open for tourists from Schengen countries.
- Switzerland: Travel between Switzerland, France, and Austria, from June 15.
Resumption of flights
Although many of the countries have opened their borders, the availability of flights is essential to the flow of travelers. EasyJet had announced yesterday that it would be resuming services in the UK and France from June 15. Similarly, Ryanair has said that it will operate 1000 daily flights from July 1.
Other airlines like Finnair and Eurowings have also announced their intentions to resume flights as soon as possible. However, in general, the number of routes will initially be less, and the frequency very limited. Altogether, their services will gradually grow depending on passenger demand.
Do you think it is right to open borders already? Let us know in the comments.