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

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

But be careful before packing your bags: the return to freedom of 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 from 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 exceptional: 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.

Germans and Austrians will wait until midnight Monday before being able to take the road, rail or air to the rest of Europe.

Among the countries which are going to lift their controls, or have 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.

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.

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.

Portugal and Spain will wait until July 1 to welcome tourists, resulting in the reciprocity of several countries, such as France, which will extend its controls with this neighbor immediately.

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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