Members of the European Parliament have called for additional measures to save the EU’s tourism and travel sector and make it future-proof after the Covid-19 crisis, a statement by the bloc’s legislature said.
The resolution on transport and tourism in 2020 and beyond was adopted on June 19 by 587 votes in favour, 32 against and 46 abstentions.
It identifies areas where actions taken so far remain insufficient to support a sector that employs 22.6 million people (11.2 per cent of the total EU employment) and that contributed 9.5 per cent to EU GDP in 2019.
They said that fairness and safety should be guaranteed by establishing common standards and detailed protocols for hygiene and health screening measures; developing an early alert system that warns tourists about any potential health threat at their destination; and creating an EU safety certificate for establishments and operators that meet the highest hygiene and safety standards.
Fairness and safety also should be guaranteed by launching a dedicated information campaign on travel and tourism, aiming at promoting intra-EU travel, re-establishing confidence in travel and tourism during COVID-19, and educating tourists on the health and safety measures in place; and ensuring safe transit and country-to-country movement is not hampered by unilateral measures and agreements between individual member states.
The European Parliament said that the European Commission should explore the idea of a crisis-management mechanism for EU tourism, in order to respond adequately and swiftly to any future challenge of similar magnitude.
In a separate resolution on June 19, MEPs said that a swift return to a fully functional Schengen area is needed to safeguard freedom of movement and ensure the EU’s economic recovery.
MEPs expressed their concern about remaining internal border controls in the Schengen area and their impact on people and businesses, in the resolution, adopted by 520 votes in favour, 86 against and 59 abstentions.
They emphasised that a swift and coordinated return to a fully functional Schengen area is of utmost importance to safeguard freedom of movement, one of the main achievements of European integration, and to ensure the EU’s economic recovery after the pandemic.
MEPs rejected any uncoordinated, bilateral action by individual EU countries and highlight the principle of non-discrimination in the reopening of borders.
MEPs also urgently call for a discussion on a Recovery Plan for Schengen to prevent any temporary internal border controls from becoming semi-permanent. The plan should also include contingency plans in case of a potential second wave.
In the medium-term, MEPs said that a reflection on how to enhance mutual trust between member states and ensure a truly European governance of the Schengen area is needed.
In the light of new challenges, they call on the Commission to propose a reform of Schengen governance.
MEPs also asked the European Council and member states to increase their efforts in Schengen integration and take the necessary steps to admit Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia into the Schengen area.
(Photo: Lance Nelson of appfactory.bg)
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Section supported by the Embassy of Switzerland