Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (13 May) on the travel advisory and on the European coordination process on cross-border travel:
It will certainly be possible to lift the travel advisory for Europe at an earlier date than for other destinations – provided that the current positive trend in many countries stabilises.
The freedom to travel is one of the cornerstones of the European project. During the COVID‑19 pandemic, however, Europe must do even more: it must ensure that it is safe to travel. We have started an intensive consultation process on this in Brussels and today the European Commission will present guidelines on travel, tourism and on the lifting of border controls within the EU. This is an important basis on which to structure the talks with our European partners and to agree on the criteria and roadmap for the next steps.
From my almost daily talks with European colleagues, I know that many countries are currently asking the same questions: how can we make travel possible again without the infection risk getting out of control again – firstly in our own country and then in a cross‑border context? Under what conditions can the quarantine regulations be lifted again? And how can we ensure that people cannot only travel but can also return home safely?
In the coming days, I intend to invite a number of colleagues to a neighbourhood dialogue to discuss these issues. I outlined this process in the Cabinet today.
The aim must be to coordinate our actions in Europe as well as possible, even if the situation differs from country to country. We do not all have to proceed at the same speed. On the other hand, however, this is not a race and we must ensure that we do not tread on each other’s toes.