Germany to lift coronavirus travel warning, end border checks on June 15

The plan is aimed at making some summer travel possible, but could be derailed by a second wave of infections.

Germany to lift coronavirus travel warning, end border checks on June 15

Germany plans to ease foreign travel restrictions from June 15, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday.

Speaking to reporters after a videoconference with foreign ministers representing popular EU summer destinations, Maas said that given the improving infection numbers in many countries, a general travel warning covering the whole world is no longer merited.

The German interior ministry last week announced that quarantine rules would no longer apply from June 15 to people arriving from EU countries, the U.K. and the Schengen area.

We hope that on June 15 we will be able to replace the general travel warning with travel advice,” Maas said, adding that any such advice would be coordinated with the respective countries while “the top priority is the health of guests and hosts.”

The minister’s remarks follow increased speculation as to whether Europe’s summer holiday season would be possible given the coronavirus pandemic.

Maas said that while there would be some summer travel within the EU, this year’s holiday trips “probably won’t have much to do with the vacation you’ve known.” He warned that travelers should expect restrictions everywhere, from bars and restaurants, to beaches and city centers.

He also said that certain restrictions would be reimposed if there were signs of a second wave of infections.

Responding to questions, Maas said Germans should not take June 15 as the “date when everyone should go on vacation,” but rather a cautious benchmark aimed at making planning easier for prospective tourists.

On a visit to the German-Austrian border, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that if there was continued improvement in combating infections “we will strive to achieve the goal of completely eliminating border controls after June 15.”

“This requires that we remain disciplined and careful,” he said.

Source : Politico EU More   

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Macron and Merkel defy Brussels with push for industrial champions

Paris and Berlin double down on demands that the EU change its competition rules.

Macron and Merkel defy Brussels with push for industrial champions

France and Germany on Monday made a rare top-level political push for the creation of European industrial champions as part of the coronavirus recovery, putting themselves on a collision course with the European Commission’s antitrust police.

Paris and Berlin are smarting after Brussels blocked a rail merger between Siemens and Alstom in 2019. To France and Germany, that potential tie-up epitomized the sort of European giant that could stand up to Chinese industry, while Brussels warned such a dominant company would be a bad deal for Europe’s consumers and smaller supply companies.

Rather than surrendering to Brussels, Paris and Berlin are now doubling down on demands that the EU change its competition rules.

The European Commission has to adjust its industrial strategy to recover from the coronavirus and “in particular modernize European competition policy by accelerating the adaptation of state aid and competition rules,” a Franco-German statement said.

“We will also think very specifically — and I think after this crisis we will do this even more specifically — about how to create European champions,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a joint virtual press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, adding that EU competition rules have been applied in a way that was “very focused” on competition in Europe.

“We have seen that others, whether the United States of America, South Korea, Japan or China, have relied very heavily on global champions, and I believe that this approach is the necessary answer. We must not be afraid to have global champions, but we must work towards them,” she said.

Macron added: “If we want technological sovereignty, we’ll have to have to adapt our competition law, which has perhaps been too much focused solely on the consumer and not enough on defending European champions.”

Elisa Braun and Hans von der Burchard contributed reporting

Source : Politico EU More   

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