Greece awaiting EU proposal on tourism

Greece awaiting EU proposal on tourism

Anticipation is running high in Greece as the European Commission is poised on Wednesday to propose a process in phases for the restoration of free movement in the European Union. 

For its part Athens has sent a non-paper to the EC, calling for the lifting of restrictions on travel between EU member-states until June 15 “where possible.”

It said travelers should be tested for the coronavirus or antibodies in the country of origin at a maximum of 72 hours before setting off on holiday.

At the same time, it said the obligation for a test could be lifted for travelers from member-states which have “demonstrated clear and persistent evidence” that the pandemic is under control.

It adds that tourism flows need to restart in a manner that “ensures fair treatment” of all member-states to avoid any “nationality bias” in travel protocols. Moreover, it added that all means of transport by road, air, train or sea must restart at the same time and with proportionate protocols. It also called for mandatory masks by passengers and flight crews in airplanes.

Meanwhile, the technical details were being finalized on Tuesday on a bilateral agreement in principle between Greece and Israel which may allow the arrival of up to a million Israeli tourists when flights between the two countries resume. Contacts have also been made between the authorities of Athens’ and Tel Aviv’s airports. However, any agreement presupposes the opening of borders across Europe, sources close to the issue said. 

At the same time, the European Commission is reportedly expected on Wednesday to propose the complete lifting of restrictions between member-states where the pandemic has been brought under control, which is seen as a positive development for Greece given its performance.

According to a draft cited by Politico, restrictions and border controls may be phased out across Europe if epidemiological data across the bloc continue to be positive.

Alternatively, travel between member-states may be permitted subject to health checks of individuals wishing to travel, and the lifting of restrictions may first be permitted “for certain forms of transport and for certain types of tourist activity,” according to the Commission document. 

Part of the Commission’s plan for a controlled launch of the tourist season also entails an interactive map that will record epidemiological data regarding tourist destinations, health infrastructure and security measures taken in restaurants and hotels.

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