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Easing restrictions at internal EU borders should be coordinated, minister says

Interior Minister Davor Božinovic (Photo credit: HINA/ Daniel KASAP/dk)

ZAGREB, April 28 (Hina) – Close cooperation between EU member states and coordination on the EU level are key in relaxing measures at the internal EU borders, which had been introduced to curb the coronavirus epidemic, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Tuesday.

“As for the gradual lifting of measures, we have agreed that the close cooperation between member states and coordination on the EU level is still key for avoiding the new peak of the epidemic in Europe,” Bozinovic said following a video conference with the EU ministers of the interior.

Bozinovic, who chaired the video conference, emphasised that restrictions would be lifted gradually in the areas where the risk of the virus being spread again is comparatively smaller.

“As for abolishing controls at the internal EU borders, we have agreed that we should be cautious, just like in considering the possibility of reopening the external EU borders. Most of my colleagues said that their decisions on lifting these measures would be in accordance to the epidemiological situation, and with an appropriate application of sanitary measures, social distancing, and other protective measures,” Bozinovic said.

Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson announced that she would present a proposal for a gradual and coordinated lifting of measures at the internal EU borders for the next video conference of the ministers of the interior.

The question of opening internal EU borders is key for planning the tourism season which is in question due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, the Croatian Tourism Minister, Gari Cappelli, organised a video conference with his counterparts from EU member states on the influence of the coronavirus on tourism.

Cappelli said that the participants in the meeting agreed on the necessity of devising a common plan for overcoming the crisis and that a joint document which would be valid in all EU states, something like “COVID-19 passport”, should be made through the travel protocol, which includes a safety and health aspect, at the departure and arrival of travellers.

The interior ministers also discussed tracking contacts of people infected with COVID-19 through mobile phone apps on a voluntary basis and with strict adherence to the privacy protection regulations, and spoke about the fight against organised crime, which had “adapted” to the crisis, and the increased migrant pressure towards Europe.

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