Should borders remain closed?
The EU member states plan to exercise utmost caution in relaxing the border controls introduced in the corona crisis. Following a video conference with his colleagues, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, acting in his capacity as EU Council President, said: "We all agreed that above all we must prevent new waves of infection". He did not mention any concrete schedule for the opening of borders. This course meets with a mixed response in the press.
Months away from open borders
Der Tagesspiegel warns against premature border openings and calls for customised solutions:
“If, for example, the number of new infections per day in areas that have grown together such as southern Baden and Alsace on both sides of the border at some point falls to a similarly low level, it should be possible to open the border for everyone in this region. The same applies to cross-border tourism, which Austria, for example, would like to boost again in the near future with regard to guests from Germany and the Czech Republic. But it will probably be months before this can be seriously considered.”
Distancing and hygiene should be enough
Neither Germany nor Denmark currently allow each other's citizens to enter their respective territory without good reason - a measure which is also separating families and couples. Der Nordschleswiger finds that
“the regulations on the closure of the German-Danish border are unconvincing as an instrument for curbing the coronavirus pandemic. ... In everyday life, the decisive factors for preventing infection by dangerous viruses are judiciousness, discipline and careful observance of the rules of distance and hygiene on the part. And why shouldn't the affected people in the border area be able to act with the same judiciousness, discipline and prudence as the people with the right of residence north and south of the state border? ... What we need now isn't pushy behaviour on the part of the state, but humanity and respect for civil liberties.”
Test and trace instead of sealing off
Closing all state borders without making any distinctions will do more harm than good, The Guardian criticises:
“Temporary limits on movement - within countries and cities, as well as internationally - are regarded by most public health experts as an essential part of the fight against the coronavirus. But the overriding message from leading scientists has been that this needs to be based on a system of testing and contact tracing that tracks the spread of the virus, rather than blanket assumptions about foreigners and other outsiders. If clampdowns on national borders are offered as a substitute for more meaningful forms of protection then everybody loses.”