Photo: European Parliament
A European Commission Vice President has warned that “safe travel corridors” or “regional mini-Schengens” will not replace Europe’s border-free travel zone.
“There is no way that returning to Schengen normality from the existing restrictions in our internal borders should be replaced by some sort of regional mini-Schengens that fragment our single market and discriminate against the non-participating member states,”Margaritis Schinas said.
As Europe emerges from lockdown, countries are opening up their borders to travel once again. Some states have proposed “safe travel corridors” or travel bubbles, as seen with Baltic states Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania who opened borders to each other last week.
The European Commission has since proposed a EU-wide strategy for safe summer travel, including the gradual removal of travel bans, the introduction of border checks and targeted restrictions for those worst hit by the virus.
However, the institution has warned against such corridors replacing the free movement ensured by Schengen area for 26 countries in the European bloc.
While Malta is yet to release its plan for summer travel, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli has proposed safe travel corridors with nine countries with similar levels of handling of the COVID-19 crisis.