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The coronavirus hit Europe fairly hard a few weeks before we saw it begin to spread viciously in the states so Europe is ahead of the U.S. in getting through the peak of the coronavirus pandemic by a few weeks.
At this moment, they’re discussing dates to safely re-open their society (and economies). However, there is one big hiccup… each country seems to be looking at timetables differently and the focus appears to be at the national level, rather than at the E.U. level. For example:
- France is considering September as their re-open date
- Spain is considering Christmas as their re-open date and;
- Italy is considering “Beyond March 31” as their re-open date
If you’ve ever traveled to Europe, you may have noticed that you can travel between countries without border controls. The Schengen Agreement abolishes border controls and allows free passage within the confines of 26 countries, effectively becoming a single country for travel.
But there have been talks to erect border controls within Europe which would effectively bring an end to the idea of a unified Europe. And this pandemic may increase the speed in which it happens.
With several countries having their own ideas of when the borders should open, it may be possible to travel to one country in Europe in the fall (e.g. France) but still not be able to visit several countries while you’re there (e.g. Italy).
If each European goes their own way during crisis, what does that mean to continued idea of a unified Europe? Will border controls be placed within the EU? Will tensions begin to rise as some countries open their borders while other don’t?
In addition, flights may be limited, quarantines imposed, or other restrictions could remain in place to keep out tourists who might bring with them the virus (particularly from the US).
All of this speculative as many countries have not announced “re-opening dates,” however, it also highlights some of the challenges that international travel will face in the near future.
Did you have think things would return to “normal” faster than Christmas or 31 March 2021?