Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement today (20 May) after part two of the dialogue with Germany’s direct neighbours on a coordinated approach to reboot tourism in Europe:
Even in this year of the corona crisis, we want to make a summer holiday in Europe possible – but under responsible conditions. That means a holiday should be predictable and, above all, safe.
We need certainty on two fronts. Firstly, we need to be sure that our citizens will be able to return to Germany without restrictions. That’s why we are working to agree on criteria that are as uniform as possible, in order gradually to reopen borders in Europe and lift quarantine regulations. Secondly, we need to be sure that a summer tourist season won’t come at the high price of a second wave of infections. So we will also be agreeing on health and hygiene standards for tourist destinations.
One thing is clear: we do not want to see European destinations competing for tourists. Rather, we want a coordinated and transparent process which will be easy to comprehend and acceptable to everyone in Europe. As world champions in travelling, Germany feels it has a special responsibility here.
Our approach must hinge on the rate of infection and many other factors, which vary both nationally and regionally. In other words, we need uniform criteria, but not a one-size-fits-all solution. Or, to put it another way, we want to identify a common spot for take-off and landing, but we don’t all have to take the same plane.
Despite the wholly understandable delight at the idea of a summer holiday, we must not forget that it is only a few weeks since we had to rescue almost a quarter of a million German tourists stranded abroad. That is something we cannot and do not want to repeat. So there will be no “normal” summer holiday this year. Whether the Baltic or the Mediterranean – the social distancing and hygiene rules will apply everywhere.
We hope to be able to lift the worldwide travel warning, at least for the European Union, after 14 June and to replace it with differentiated travel advisories. Our talks today and on Monday have brought us a good bit closer to that goal. We intend to continue this coordination in the coming days and weeks.
Foreign Minister Maas this week invited European counterparts to a dialogue among Germany’s neighbours. The aim is to ensure the closest possible coordination on an agreed approach to rebooting tourism in Europe. The discussions are based on the guidelines issued by the European Commission on 13 May 2020.
The Foreign Ministers of the ten major destination and transit countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain – were invited to a video conference on Monday; today it was the turn of the Foreign Ministers of our nine neighbours: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland.