Borders reopen in Europe … a little, a lot, or not at all

VIENNA | After three months of isolation within their national borders, Europeans find it easier to travel from one country to another on Monday, due to the decline in the coronavirus pandemic.

• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic

But be careful before packing your bags: the return to free movement inside the old continent was done in dispersed order and the map of Europe presents a mosaic of green, orange and red lights, depending on the origin or the destination.

They are already accessible

Italy had given the signal on June 3 by reopening to all travelers … even though most of the states maintained restrictions with this country which was one of the centers of the pandemic in Europe.

Another country in a hurry to save its tourist season, Croatia also anticipated the call and reopened its borders on Thursday, as did Poland, accessible to all European citizens since Saturday.

Many countries have chosen the “onion strategy”, opening up in recent weeks to their neighbors first, before expanding the circulation area. Thus, it is already possible to circulate without control in central Europe or from one Baltic country to another.

On a continent where each country had barricaded itself since mid-March, two states were exceptions: Sweden remained in principle accessible to EU travelers, as did Luxembourg. Frontier workers essential to the economy were given passes to go back and forth with the Grand Duchy.

They reopen on Monday

Belgium, France and Greece re-establish free movement on Monday morning with all the countries of the continent. Athens, whose economy is largely based on tourism, goes even further and invites travelers from several non-EU regions – such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, China.

To Germany and Austria, arrival controls by road, rail or air will be lifted at midnight on Monday.

Among the countries to reopen their border, or having already done so, many of them (Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia …) however maintain restrictions for travelers from European destinations where the infection rate is still considered too high.

Norway will open its borders to all Nordic countries on Monday by imposing conditions that exclude almost all of Sweden at this stage, where the coronavirus epidemic remains acute.

Each country has composed its more or less long list of risk areas. Sweden and Great Britain are invariably included. Spain and Portugal are often added to this. Sometimes the Netherlands, Belgium, France. The lists are revised regularly.

Either travel to or from these destinations is prohibited, or a negative Covid-19 screening test or 14-day isolation is required.

France warns that it will apply “reciprocity” to countries imposing restrictions on its nationals.

They are still chilly

Romania will not reopen its borders on Monday for non-nationals and does not give a specific date.

Originally set for July 1, the date of reopening Spain to tourists has finally been moved to June 21, except on the land border with Portugal where controls will continue until July 1.

By “reciprocity”, France plans to continue immediate controls at the border with Spain.

As part of a pilot project, the Balearics will however welcome almost 11,000 Germans from June 15.

Norway will only reopen its borders on Monday to the other Nordic countries, with the exception of Sweden. Denmark is just as selective, limiting its reception at this stage to people from Germany, Norway or Iceland.

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