These are the countries where Germany is preparing to lift the travel warning

Germany on Wednesday wants to prepare for the lifting of the travel warning for 31 European states imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic from June 15th.

These are the countries where Germany is preparing to lift the travel warning
A sign at a travel agent in Nuremberg advertising holidays. Photo: DPA

A key points paper with proposals about how to protect holidaymakers from contracting coronavirus is being put together as part of the discussions.

Meanwhile, the federal government intends to press ahead with negotiations on cross-border travel with important holiday destinations for Germany, such as Spain.

Germany had issued the worldwide travel warning on March 17th – a step that is unprecedented to date – and extended it on April 29th until June 15th.

Until now, travel warnings have been issued very rarely and only in the event of danger to life, for example in war zones.

READ ALSO: Germany extends worldwide travel tourist warning until mid-June

Which countries will the travel warning be lifted for?

The countries for which the travel warning is set to be lifted include Germany's 26 partner countries in the European Union, the United Kingdom, which has just left the EU but is currently the transition period, and the four countries of the border-free Schengen area that are not members of the EU: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

For these countries, from June 15th onwards, there will only be individual travel advice, in which country-specific risks and information will be pointed out.

The advice will include information on how many coronavirus infections there are in individual countries, which facilities are open and which measures apply where. According to Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, this would help citizens decide where they could plan their holidays and in which regions they should avoid.

Border restrictions are gradually easing in countries. For example, as of June 3rd, EU citizens are allowed to travel to Italy again for holidays. Italy's borders were closed at the beginning of March due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

READ ALSO: Germany set to lift travel warning for 31 countries

How can tourists be protected?

In order to ensure the best possible protection of tourists against coronavirus infection spread, the German government intends to advocate a number of common principles in the EU.

In a draft for the key points paper the Federal Foreign Office has proposed, among other things, that the upper limit of 50 new infections per 100,000 citizens within seven days be adopted by other European countries. In Germany, exceeding this limit leads to the reintroduction of anti-corona measures.

In addition, each country is to develop concepts for adherence to distance rules, hygiene, wearing masks and the ventilation and disinfection of spaces.

Maas has already organised two rounds of consultations with the most important holiday destinations for Germans, and the neighbouring countries of Germany. A further discussion is to follow this month.

Germany has not yet decided how it will deal with countries outside the EU. Maas expressed reservations about this on Tuesday.

“Possibly it will take some time”, he said. Turkey in particular, the number three destination among the Germans' favourite holiday countries, hopes that the travel warning will be lifted for them as well.

It also remains unclear when the travel warning will be lifted for the United States, and for those traveling from the US into Germany, despite more flights being added between the two destinations, said the American Embassy in Berlin last week.

According to the Foreign Minister himself, he has not yet decided where he wants to go on holiday. At a press conference on Tuesday, he said: “I don't know where I'm going on holiday, and if I knew, I certainly wouldn't tell you here.”

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Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany’s spending in pandemic

The German Constitutional Court rejected challenges Tuesday to Berlin's participation in the European Union's coronavirus recovery fund, but expressed some reservations about the massive package.

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany's spending in pandemic

Germany last year ratified the €750-billion ($790-billion) fund, which offers loans and grants to EU countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

The court in Karlsruhe ruled on two challenges, one submitted by a former founder of the far-right AfD party, and the other by a businessman.

They argued the fund could ultimately lead to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, having to take on the debts of other EU member states on a permanent basis.

But the Constitutional Court judges ruled the EU measure does not violate Germany’s Basic Law, which forbids the government from sharing other countries’ debts.

READ ALSO: Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The judgement noted the government had stressed that the plan was “intended to be a one-time instrument in reaction to an unprecedented crisis”.

It also noted that the German parliament retains “sufficient influence in the decision-making process as to how the funds provided will be used”.

The judges, who ruled six to one against the challenges, did however express some reservations.

They questioned whether paying out such a large amount over the planned period – until 2026 – could really be considered “an exceptional measure” to fight the pandemic.

At least 37 percent of the funds are aimed at achieving climate targets, the judges said, noting it was hard to see a link between combating global warming and the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany to fast-track disputed €200 billion energy fund

They also warned against any permanent mechanism that could lead to EU members taking on joint liability over the long term.

Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding said the ruling had “raised serious doubts whether the joint issuance to finance the fund is in line with” EU treaties.

“The German court — once again — emphasised German limits for EU fiscal integration,” he said.

The court had already thrown out a legal challenge, in April 2021, that had initially stopped Berlin from ratifying the financial package.

Along with French President Emmanuel Macron, then chancellor Angela Merkel sketched out the fund in 2020, which eventually was agreed by the EU’s 27 members in December.

The first funds were disbursed in summer 2021, with the most given to Italy and Spain, both hit hard by the pandemic.