As Austria was the first EU country other than Italy to completely shut its borders to international visitors back in March due to panic about the coronavirus (COVID-19), it only makes sense the tiny country will be one of the first to open them.
According to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s borders with Germany will open on June 15th — this after some restrictions on the borders between the two neighboring countries have been lifted this month.
Kurz says he also plans to open borders to other ‘low-infection countries’ around the same time.
Countries he is currently considering opening borders with are Switzerland, Liechtenstein and “neighbouring eastern European countries”.
Of course, even if Austria does open its borders to Germany on June 15th, that does not help the free movement of people and trade across the rest of the EU.
Not if other borders around the EU remain closed.
That is why some countries’ leaders are now lobbying other countries to open their borders to international traffic.
After all, when tourism in the EU accounts for up to 35% of the world total, and one billion trips across borders are made by Europeans in the EU every year, it is vital Europe’s tourism industry gets back up and running as soon as possible.
With a global recession now all but upon us, if it does not, it will not bode well for the EU’s future financial stability.
If Austria does not get its borders fully open with the rest of the world soon, it will not bode well for that country’s financial future either.
Not when up to 9% of Austrian GDP (46 million visitors in 2019) is currently dependent on tourism.