Greece is pushing the notoriously slow European Commission to adopt uniform protocols to allow travel within the 27-member European Union by June 15 to salvage the critical tourism sector when a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus is fully lifted.
That came in a discussion paper, said the news site Politico, with bloc leaders set to meet May 13 to talk about proposals that could let people travel between member states if health measures are maintained to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
“Our objective is to work toward reopening travel between EU countries by 15 June, where possible,” Politico cited the non-paper as saying.
The document reportedly added that while Greece wants to ensure that there is no “nationality travel bias” in protocols, requesting a “common understanding” that travelers within the EU will have to be tested for coronavirus or antibodies ahead of their trip.
Alternatively, it said, tests won't be required for travel between areas “which have demonstrated clear and persistent evidence that the COVID-19 situation is under control,” which would include Greece, which imposed an early lockdown that brought one of the best records in the world holding down the number of cases and deaths.
Especially eager to get travel going on islands, although seasonal hotels so far wouldn't be open by June 15, Greece asked there be “no discrimination or differentiation by means of travel.”
“Means of transport by road, air, train or sea reopen at the same time and with proportionate protocols. We cannot allow more remote [member countries] of our Union to be left behind,” Politico reported Greece as saying.
The British newspaper The Daily Mail said Greece has a three-pronged plan to lift the lockdown to bolster tourism, saying it could be back in business on June 1 instead of July 1 as the government has said so far.
Last year, four million Britons traveled to either mainland Greece or its islands on holiday.