Half-open borders: impatience growing in the north

Even if Europe as a whole is moving in the direction of opening borders and easing travel restrictions, individual countries are taking different approaches. Columnists in northern Europe voice their frustration with the sluggish pace at which their countries are reopening their borders.

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Lapin Kansa (FI) /

This approach will deter German tourists

Only Norwegians, Danes, Icelanders and citizens from the Baltic states are allowed to travel to Finland without restrictions so far. This is having a negative impact on its tourist sector, Lapin Kansa complains:

“The government recently said that travel restrictions for twelve European countries would be lifted on July 13 if the epidemic there did not worsen before then. ... The government's extremely cautious approach was a disappointment for many touristic companies, many of which are struggling to survive. The summer season is approaching its peak, and many had hoped that, for example, the Germans would already have been given permission to come to Finland, or at least that there would be a fixed date in the near future when the border would be opened. … Such hesitancy could mean that Germans don't come to Finland this year, because holidays are booked early in Germany.”

Der Nordschleswiger (DK) /

Villages divided, tourists excluded

Denmark has been open to tourists from Germany, Iceland and Norway since mid-June and residents of Schleswig-Holstein are allowed to enter the country without giving a reason for doing so. But too many border crossing points remain closed, Der Nordschleswiger criticises:

“Life is anything but normal in the border regions. On the west coast, residents fear the situation may continue until September, because the politicians are passing the buck to the police - and vice versa. … It would have been easy to allow the villagers north and south of the border to travel back and forth, as was done for farmers and others. What the border region really needs, however, is an overall solution for tourists from Germany and for all 13 border crossing points. That would be a real - and honest - normalisation.”