Spain applauds EU mobility agreement as "first step" towards reviving international tourism

Reyes Maroto

Maroto applauds the preference for source and/or destination testing as a priority measure over quarantine

This Tuesday, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, welcomed the agreement on mobility in the European Union as "a first step" towards reactivating international tourism activity because it includes proportionate and predictable measures that will improve travellers' confidence.

Maroto welcomed the standardisation of mobility criteria in the European Union, which was approved as a recommendation and which includes Spain's position on the exclusion of border closures and the establishment of flexible limits on mobility, always in accordance with objective health criteria.

It also welcomes the preference for testing at origin and/or destination as a priority measure over quarantine. "We will continue to work to achieve this general rule, which will allow international tourist flows to be recovered under health safety conditions, a key element in reactivating our tourism sector", the minister stressed.

At its meeting on Tuesday in Luxembourg, the European Union's General Affairs Council (GAC), made up of the ministers of European Affairs of the EU States, adopted the recommendation on the EU's coordinated approach to restricting freedom of movement in response to the pandemic.

The recommendation, adopted by the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper), despite being essentially indicative and minimal, aims to establish standardised criteria and data to ensure safe and non-discriminatory free movement within the European Union, to strengthen coordination mechanisms and to improve information to citizens.

Until now, each Member State has established restrictions for citizens coming from other countries according to its own criteria and guidelines, which often differ from one another.

Specific mention to the islands

Spain welcomes this recommendation as it reflects its position on fundamental elements such as the exclusion of border closure as a measure to be adopted, the protection of the mobility of particularly sensitive and relevant groups, and the regionalisation of the evaluation and implementation of measures.

Specific mention is also made of the peripheral and outermost territories, such as the islands, for which Spain has advocated special treatment.

The recommendation also makes express mention of the preference for testing at origin and/or destination as opposed to quarantine - or self-isolation - and also invites States to continue cooperating on the mutual recognition of results and on passenger location forms, opening up the possibility of a European form.