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Greece, Croatia, Italy, and eight other EU States agree on joint ‘travel freedom’ strategy

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Greece and ten other European Union member states have agreed on a set of principles to ensure the freedom of safe travel within the EU.

A joint statement was released on May 18 by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain following a video conference to agree on the coordinated restoration of the freedom of movement and travel in the European Union.

“Freedom of movement and travelling across Europe is a fundamental part of the European project,” the Ministers of Foreign Affairs said in the statement.

“Our goal is to restore free movement for all citizens, be it for professional, educational or merely private purposes, based on the principles of proportionality and non-discrimination.”

The restaurants and bars in Little Venice are packed around sunset. Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

The EU states have agreed on four principles to ensure the safety of their citizens while engaging in continental travel:

– We believe that an approach of phased steps, coordinated and agreed among EU Member States, is the best way to achieve a gradual normalisation of cross-border travelling.

– Exploring ways of allowing travelling while avoiding that the risk of an increase in infections gets out of hand will be key.

– It will be crucial to ensure that our citizens cannot just travel freely within Europe, but can also safely return home. Thus, we need to coordinate closely regarding conditions for lifting rules of confinement and of quarantine and regarding the restoration of transport services. In this context, it will also be important to work on a common understanding of health-related standards and procedures.

– We believe the restoration of the freedom of cross-border movements can be achieved progressively, provided current positive trends continue leading to comparable epidemiological situations in countries of origin and of destination. The reopening of border-crossings including the situation of cross-border workers deserves specific attention.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs have called on tourism businesses and related private actors to take ‘appropriate precautionary measures’ to protect the safety of travellers once travel freedom is restored.

The statement also indicates the crucial component for “rebuilding public trust in the safety of traveling.”

Greece’s death toll currently stands at 165, which is one of the lowest in all the EU. Greece recently announced their entering into the third stage of lifting Covid-19 restrictions.

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