The borders between Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary could open completely in mid-June.
Following a video conference, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg added that the four prime ministers could soon take a final decision.
“We are returning to normal and this also applies to tourism. Our goal is to open the borders between the Czech Republic, Austria, and Slovakia by mid-June, moreover, without the need to submit negative tests or quarantine,” Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said he would like to see the country’s borders all open on June 15.
Austria has already started to relax systematic controls at its common border with Slovakia, as the number of infections in both countries has dropped, and the situation seems to be improving.
Besides Slovakia, Austria also has abolished internal border controls with the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, which controls have been imposed in a bid to stop the further spread of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
“Factors to be considered when phasing out border restrictions include the protection of human life and health, economic and trade relations, the re-establishment of links between communities living along the borders and a return to normalcy,” said Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó.
“Starting Monday, citizens of Hungary and Serbia will be allowed to travel between the two countries without undergoing a mandatory quarantine upon entry,” he added.
“Austria will open all borders with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary from midnight on Saturday, May 16,” said today the Austrian Ministry of the Interior.
The full opening of the borders is planned on June 15, the APA agency reported.
At the same time, Austria has struck the same border-opening agreement with Switzerland and Liechtenstein as the one it previously announced with Germany, to fully allow travel from June 15.
“Inspections by health authorities and the police will be less frequent and only random,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Our goal is to try to give as much freedom and as little restriction as possible. This is another small step towards normality, especially for people in border areas,” added the ministry.
- On May 12, the Swiss government announced it would reopen 15 border crossings with Austria, France, and Italy, in eight cantons, in its second phase of the partial easing of the COVID-19 temporary restrictions.
- The French Minister of Interior has agreed with his German counterpart Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to reopen the common borders by June 15, which restrictions have been put in place in a bid to contain the flow of the COVID-19.
- Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia have decided to open their common borders so their citizens can freely move between the three, as of May 15. The Baltic states have decided to abolish an entry ban for non-essential purposes as they assert that the situation regarding the Coronavirus pandemic and the level of infections is similar in all three, while at the same time abolishing a requirement of two weeks quarantine for travelers.