Statement by the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and Government Spokesman, Mr. Stelios Petsas, on the European Commission’s framework for Tourism and Transport. (Athens, 13th May 2020)
"The Greek Government welcomes the framework of guidelines and recommendations for tourism and transport presented today by the European Commission.
Organizing such a common European framework has not been self-evident. Greece was the first country to raise the issue of tourism in the European public debate. And in cooperation with other countries along with the European Commission, we have reached today’s framework which respects one of the four fundamental freedoms, on which the EU is built: freedom of movement for people.
The aim is, under common rules and conditions, to gradually restore transport and tourism throughout the European Union. Such restoring will allow for a faster recovery of employment and economic activity. In the framework presented today, many of our proposals are incorporated. This framework includes proposals for health and travel protocols, for tracing apps, for common financial instruments, as well as for a pan-European campaign to promote Europe as a global tourist destination.
The "principle of non-discrimination" is the connecting link in the whole framework. Free movement between countries and regions of the European Union with similar epidemiological conditions, based on this principle and not on geographical distance or means of transport, is being facilitated.
In this regard, the European Commission has developed a special website in which European citizens and anyone interested can be informed with transparency and validity about the epidemiological data of each country. Apparently, Greece, thanks to the rapid and effective fight against Coronavirus, is one of the countries with the lowest spread of the virus per 100,000 inhabitants. And this is a factor – among many others - in attracting tourists to visit our country.
The above context creates confidence that travel will be safe, in an unprecedented situation caused by the pandemic crisis.
Even in this unprecedented situation, Greece is ready. In the coming days, the government's comprehensive plan to restart tourism will be presented, with the aim of protecting public health and supporting employment. However, we shall not have any kind of illusion. This summer is not going to be like the last one".