The number of new cases of coronavirus has been going down in many countries each week. Europe has been opening bit by bit within their member countries as all of Europe looked to welcome international visitors as of June 15.
EU May Extend the External Border Closure
Yet, the European Commission met last Friday with ministers from every EU country and they made the recommendation that the external EU borders stay closed for another two weeks, until July 1.
This was led, in part, by Estonia saying they do not feel ready to welcome international visitors yet. According to reports, the decision was met with “almost” unanimous support by the member countries.
This is how it has happened each of the last times that the external EU borders were closed and then the closures were extended – the European Commission made the recommendation and then member countries enforced the closure.
Why This is a Problem for Some Countries
But, this time, I can guess who were part of the group that kept the decision from being unanimous – Italy and Greece. Italy has already opened their borders to international visitors as of last week. And Greece has made a lot of international noise about “opening to the world” as of June 15.
Both Italy and Greece rely heavily on tourism for their economies yet how they both were hit with the virus was completely different. Italy was one of the hardest and earliest hit countries while Greece kept their total number of infections to under 3,000. Yet, both countries have been busy welcoming/inviting tourists to visit their shores.
So, what will happen if the EU border closures (external) stay in effect until July 1? There is some speculation that some countries may not go along with that, which would likely make other EU countries want the internal borders with those country to be closed until July 1.
Greece Has a Great Plan – But, Now What?
In the case of Greece, they have laid out a very well thought-out and strategic plan which was to use June 15 – 30 as a phase to bring in people with testing for some. It would let Greece balance out their incoming visitor stream with how they handle the new protocols.
Also, there are a lot of people who had already bought tickets to Greece, based on the words of the prime minister that the country would be open as of June 15. Even though quarantines would be required for people originating from certain cities, many of these passengers were family members of people in Greece. So, quarantining was not a big concern.
This is going to make problems for airlines as well as they face more cancellations due to another border closure extension. Even though this extension would only be for 2 weeks, it could be the most difficult and controversial yet.
Did you have plans to go to any country in Europe between June 15 – 30?