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‘Airports ready to resume traffic from the 15th of June’, guarantees Costa

53resume trafficPortuguese airports will be ready to resume air traffic, with some degree of normality, starting on June 15th, guaranteed this Friday morning Prime Minister António Costa. Portugal thus meets the desire expressed a few hours earlier by the European Commission, through the Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Ylva Johansson, who said she had a desire that the free movement space within the European Union (EU), for air, land and sea, become a reality again by the end of the month.

After a two-hour visit to Lisbon airport, in which he was accompanied by the ministers of Infrastructure, Pedro Nuno Santos, and Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, Costa stated that Portuguese airports will soon be ready to resume air traffic and considered it “very important that the country be prepared, from 15 June, for the reactivation of routes and for the opening of borders, with a collective effort being made within the framework of the European Union so that tourism can resume its full activity.

At a time when many Europeans have not yet booked a holiday, several operators have warned of the competitive importance of a Member State being among the first to open up to tourism.

“I believe I can say what the Directorate-General for Health has already said, but also what international civil aviation institutions have already said, that is, that Portugal’s airports are ready, comply with safety standards, and are prepared to welcome the resumption of air traffic with all normality ”, said the Prime Minister.

For António Costa, “respect for hygiene and safety standards is the greatest guarantee that the reopening of traffic is not an uncontrolled risk factor for the development of this pandemic”.

Shortly before, in Brussels, at the end of a videoconference of Ministers of Internal Affairs, in which the gradual lifting of travel restrictions imposed due to the pandemic was discussed, European Commissioner Ylva Johansson stated in a press conference: “I believe that we will return to the full functioning of the Schengen area and free movement of citizens by the end of June at the latest”.

The day before, the European Parliament (EP) Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs expressed concern about the impact of closed borders on European people and businesses, especially in the field of tourism, and rejected “any uncoordinated, bilateral or multilateral framework of any Member State, discussed outside the EU framework”, on the matter.

At a time when some European countries are publishing lists that prohibit the entry of citizens from other Member States – Portugal was left out of the list of countries with access allowed by Greece, for example – the EP Civil Liberties Committee also demanded that the principle of non-discrimination was respected.

On Friday, Commissioner Ylva Johansson explained that the videoconference of European ministers of Home Affairs revealed consensus that the opening of the EU’s external borders to third-country nationals would only happen after the opening of borders between Member States, thus prolonging from June 15th until the end of the month the ban on travel from outside Europe. “We will consider the gradual lifting of ‘non-essential’ travel restrictions to the EU in early July,” summarized the Swedish Commissioner.