BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Leaders of the European travel and tourism industry, badly hit by the pandemic, have called on the European Commission to pressure EU governments to lift travel quarantine restrictions and coordinate measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“This chaotic situation requires your immediate personal involvement,” says a letter to the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, signed by more than 20 industry representatives, including the International Air Transport Association. Reuters reviewed the document.
The appeal was written after data from the ACI Europe group of airports, which also signed the letter, indicated a double decline in passenger traffic: first by 73% in the first two weeks of September, and then by 65% in August.
This month, the EU's executive body proposed a common “traffic light” system to coordinate travel restrictions for citizens between EU states, as a patchwork quilt of various regulations and quarantine regimes has caused the collapse of air travel and travel.
But with the rise in COVID-19 cases, EU governments are reluctant to abandon tighter restrictions and quarantines, which the industry condemns as disproportionate to the risks of travel within a region where transmission of the virus is already widespread.
Ireland, for example, on Thursday imposed stricter restrictions than the EU as a whole and obliged travelers from Greece and Italy to serve a period of isolation. RyanAir is challenging Dublin's actions in court.
“Rejecting the mechanism proposed by the (European) Commission will kill all chances for a potential recovery,” a letter to von der Leyen said. One tenth of the GDP of the European Union and 12% of jobs is provided by tourism, the authors of the message wrote.
In a non-binding vote on Thursday, the European Parliament called on member states to adopt a common methodology to tackle the pandemic ahead of a September 22 meeting of European affairs ministers, which will address more coordinated border controls.
(Marin Strauss with the participation of Lawrence Frost. Translated by Alexey Kuzmin. Editor Anna Kozlova)