Europe's borders reopen

  • Europe's borders reopen
    Spain to reopen borders on 21 June but other countries are adopting more targeted approach. Europe's borders reopen
By EFE , Reuters, AFP
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Germany and France reopen borders as Europe emerges from lockdown.
Spain to reopen borders on 21 June but other countries are adopting more targeted approach.

France and Germany became the latest European countries to reopen their borders as the continent emerges from its three-month Covid-19 lockdown.

Speaking on Sunday evening, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, said the country’s Schengen borders would be open from Monday and its non-EU borders from 1 July.

He said that while France could be proud of its response to the pandemic, it needed to reflect on the crisis.

“This challenge has also revealed weaknesses, fragilities, our dependence on other continents to procure certain products, our cumbersome organisation, our social and territorial inequalities,” he said. “I would like us to learn all the lessons from what we have been through.”

Germany also opened its borders to fellow European travellers, but the government – which helped fly 240,000 people home as the pandemic grew exponentially – warned people to be careful as they planned their summer holidays.

“My appeal to all those who travel: enjoy your summer vacation but enjoy it with caution and responsibility,” said the foreign minister, Heiko Maas. “Over the summer holidays, we want to make it as difficult as possible for the virus to spread again in Europe.”

The appeal came as 10,900 German tourists began arriving in the Balearic islands as part of a pilot scheme to help Spain reactivate its crucial tourist industry.

On Sunday, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, announced the country would reopen its borders to visitors from the EU and the Schengen area from Sunday 21 June.

At the request of the Portuguese government, the land border with Spain will not open until 1 July, when Spain will open its border to travellers from other countries.

Sánchez also called for caution in his televised address. “As you know, the threat of the pandemic remains present,” he said. “The pandemic isn’t over – a quick look at what’s happening right now in North America and South America show us that it isn’t.”

Italy – one of the European countries hardest hit by the pandemic – reopened its borders on 3 June, but others are adopting a more targeted approach.