The COVID-Era Summer Travel Rules For Europe

A picture taken on June 29, 2021 in Paris shows a passport next to a mobile phone whose screen bears a EU Digital Covid certificate. – The European health certificate, which Belgium began using on June 16, 2021, will become operational across the EU on July 1, 2021. (Photo by Olivier MORIN / AFP)

 

 

Europe’s tourism hot spots are gearing up for what they hope will be a summer season marked by the return of foreigners eager for a taste of freedom after a year of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns worldwide.

But visitors will face a hodgepodge of entry rules across the bloc, even with the launch of a “travel pass” for EU residents aimed at speeding up processing at arrival points.

Access for tourists from some countries outside the bloc has also become easier, but others continue to impose draconian restrictions as governments try to avert a fourth coronavirus wave while throwing tourism a lifeline.

Here is a summary of rules in some of Europe’s key tourism spots:

France

France, the world’s top tourist destination, uses a colour-coded map laying out entry protocols, with EU residents who are vaccinated or have a negative PCR test able to enter freely.

The same goes for a number of “green” countries, including the United States, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand and Singapore.

Visitors from “orange” zones, which include Britain and most of Asia and Africa, have to produce a recent negative Covid test even when vaccinated.

For non-vaccinated people coming from “orange” zones, however, only essential trips are allowed and a seven-day self-quarantine imposed.

Just over 20 countries remain largely off-limits, including India, South Africa and much of South America, including Brazil.

Mask-wearing remains mandatory indoors, but curfew rules have been lifted.

Spain

Anyone who has been fully vaccinated can enter Spain, irrespective of their point of origin.

Arrivals from several countries or regions no longer even need proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test. They are Albania, Australia, South Korea, the United States, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macao.

Non-vaccinated travellers from EU countries need to produce a negative Covid test less than 48 hours old.

Arrivals from Britain, which makes up the biggest foreign tourist group in Spain, again need to show a negative PCR test, a requirement that had been dropped previously.

Masks are mandatory indoors, but no longer outside, and curfews and domestic travel restrictions have been lifted.

Restaurants and bars are cleared for outdoor and indoor seating, but there are some restrictions on hours and the number of patrons allowed at any one time.

Nightclubs have reopened in the Madrid region and Catalonia, which includes hotspot Barcelona.

 

Italy

Italy hopes for 20 percent more tourists than last year.

Arrivals from the EU can enter freely if they have either been fully vaccinated, recovered from Covid or present a negative Covid test less than 48 hours old.

The same goes for passengers arriving from the United States, Canada, Japan, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Rwanda, Singapore and Thailand.

Visitors from Britain are subject to a five-day quarantine after presentation of a negative test. A second test is required after quarantine.

Italy remains off-limits for tourists from Brazil, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Masks are no longer compulsory outside, but must be worn indoors.

Curfews have been lifted, as have restrictions on restaurants and bars but tables must still be placed at least one metre (3.2 feet) apart.

Portugal

According to rules in force until July 11, all arrivals need to present proof of vaccination or a PCR test less than 72 hours old or an antigen of less than 48 hours.

Non-vaccinated arrivals from Britain will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

Except for EU member countries, Schengen members and a small number of other countries including the US and Australia, travellers need a compelling reason to enter Portugal.

Social distancing and mask-wearing are mandatory, and special rules are in place for beaches and swimming pool areas, with a distance of three metres minimum required between parasols.

Greece

The Greek government is hoping to reach about half of its pre-pandemic tourism revenues this summer which, if confirmed, would double last year’s figure.

Some 150,000 tourists have travelled to Greece since the start of the season on May 14, according to Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis.

Arrivals from EU countries and the Schengen area are authorised to enter Greece, as are residents of Canada, the US, Israel, China, Thailand, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

But they are required to fill in a form and produce proof of full vaccination, or a PCR test of less than 72 hours, an antigen test of less than 48 hours, or a certificate of post-infection immunity.

The authorities said they will also carry out spot antigen testing of arriving passengers.

UK

Travel to Britain is made difficult for most of the world by strict curbs on arrivals, costly quarantine requirements and expensive Covid tests.

The tourism sector’s efforts are mostly focused on domestic holidaymakers.

Travellers from “green” countries — including Australia, New Zealand and Iceland — need only produce a negative Covid test.

The green list was extended by 16 countries on Wednesday, including Israel, the Balearic Islands and the Cayman Islands.

Arrivals from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands can enter freely.

Covid infections due to the delta variant delayed the planned lifting of many social restrictions, but Britain hopes to scrap a ban on large social gatherings, and non-seated drinking in pubs, on July 19, as well as to reopen nightclubs.

EU Sanctions Three Firms For Breaking Libya Arms Embargo

An official hangs a Union Jack next to an European Union flag at EU Headquarters in Brussels on October 17, 2019, ahead of a European Union Summit on Brexit.
Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

 

The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on three companies — one Turkish, one Kazakh and one Jordanian — for breaching the UN arms embargo on Libya, drawing an angry reaction from Turkey.

At a regular meeting in Brussels, EU foreign ministers signed off on the measures, which freeze any EU assets held by the companies, cut them off from EU finance markets, and bar them from doing business with anyone in the bloc.

Two individuals were also hit with sanctions for human rights abuses in Libya, where the UN-recognised government in Tripoli has been under attack from strongman Khalifa Haftar, who runs a rival administration in the east.

The EU has a naval mission operating in waters off Libya which is tasked with policing the embargo and collecting intelligence on violators.

“These new listings show the EU’s strategic use of its sanctions regime and ability to react to developments on the ground in support of the political process and to deter past and present perpetrators from further violations,” the EU said in a statement.

Libya has endured almost a decade of violent chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

But there have been signs of progress, with representatives from the two sides meeting for peace talks in Morocco, announcing a surprise ceasefire and pledging national elections.

“After many months I see a reason for cautious optimism. There is a positive momentum, there is a ceasefire and we need to use it,” EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell said as he arrived for the foreign ministers’ talks.

– Turkey attacks ‘wrong decision’ –
But the targeting of a Turkish company risks inflaming already tense relations between Ankara and the EU following a recent flare-up in the eastern Mediterranean over oil and gas reserves.

The EU says the company, Avrasya Shipping, operates a vessel called the Cirkin, which it says breached the arms embargo by transporting military material to Libya in May and June 2020.

Turkey lashed out at the decision in a statement from the foreign ministry late on Monday.

“At a time when efforts are made to reduce tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, making such a wrong decision is extremely unfortunate,” it read.

It also accused the EU’s naval mission in waters off Libya, called Operation Irini, of “ignoring” shipments to Haftar, “especially by the UAE (United Arab Emirates)”

“The EU’s Operation Irini rewards Haftar and punishes the Libya government recognised by the United Nations,” said the statement.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli is backed by Turkey and Qatar, while Haftar has enjoyed the support of Russia, Egypt, the UAE and France.

“If the EU wants security and stability in the region, it should give up on its biased attitude and act in consultation and cooperation with Turkey,” the foreign ministry statement added.

The other two companies targeted by the EU sanctions were Kazakh cargo air operator Sigma Airlines and Jordanian maritime firm Med Wave Shipping.

 

 

-AFP

EU ‘Deplores’ China’s Hong Kong Security Law

EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier shows documents as he gives a press conference after a Brexit negotiations meeting, at the EU Commission, in Brussels on June 5, 2020./ AFP

 

 

The European Union said Tuesday it deplored China’s adoption of a security law for Hong Kong which it warned would undermine its autonomy and undercut the judiciary.

“We deplore this decision,” European Council head Charles Michel told a press conference.

“This law risks seriously undermining the high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong and having a detrimental effect on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law,” Michel said in comments repeated by European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.

 

 

 

-AFP

Supplementary Elections: Extensive Electoral Security Problems Were Observed, Says EU

 

 

The European Union (EU) has said that extensive electoral security problems were observed in the recently concluded supplementary elections. 

According to a report by the EU’s Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), parts of Kano were largely inaccessible to EU observers, citizen observers and journalists were also obstructed.

The EU noted in its report that it deployed teams to each of the five states that held supplementary governorship elections on 23 March.

It further noted that a total of 20 observers followed polling, counting, and collation of results across the states.

According to the EU’s report, extensive electoral security problems were observed in some areas, “with groups of men with weapons intimidating and obstructing the process, and security agencies ineffective at protecting citizens’ right to vote”.

READ ALSO: APC Campaign Council Asks IGP, DSS To Investigate PDP Over ‘Access To INEC Server’

“In particular, parts of Kano were largely inaccessible to EU observers, and citizen observers and journalists were also obstructed. EU observers also witnessed increased interference by party agents and cases of vote-buying”.

The report further stated that Party leaderships did not appear to take any steps to rein in their supporters, noting that given the high stakes and the reduced electorate involved, “supplementary elections are systemically vulnerable to parties strategically pressurizing voters and disrupting the process”.

It further reported that in the polling units that could be fully observed, there were improved logistical arrangements and procedures were mostly followed, “although there were problems with the secrecy of the ballot”.

Below is a full report by the European Union Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019.

France Election: EU Must Reform Or Face ‘Frexit’ – Macron

Macron Source: Official Leweb Photos

Pro-EU centrist, Emmanuel Macron, has said that the European Union (EU) must reform or face the prospect of “Frexit”.

The front-runner in the French presidential election made the comments as he and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen enters the last week of campaigning.

Ms Le Pen has capitalised on Anti-EU feeling, promising a referendum on France’s membership.

She won support in rural and former industrial areas by promising to retake control of France’s borders from the EU and slash immigration.

Austria To Use Troops To Contain Migrants

migrant crisis in austriaAs the migrant crisis worsens by the day, Austrian authorities plan to go as far as deploying troops to help deal with the influx, and will tighten controls on its border with Hungary.

This moves came after Germany imposed controls on its border with Austria.

European Union (EU) states are struggling to cope with a steady stream of arrivals, many aiming for Germany where one million people are expected to arrive this year.

European Interior Ministers will hold an emergency meeting on the migrant crisis later on Monday.

They are due to vote on a plan from May to redistribute an initial 40,000 asylum seekers from Syria and Eritrea through mandatory quotas, though central and east European states have opposed this.

Greece To Submit Economic Reform Plans To EU

greeceGreece is set to submit a list of economic reforms demanded by its creditors to extend the country’s bailout programme on Tuesday.

The proposals had been due by late Monday night as a condition of the support from the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Greece needed to present its plans as a condition for extending its bailout program for an additional four months, in a deal struck with Euro zone partners on Friday.

It was painted by the country’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a victory for the Greek people, though it does little to reduce its financial obligations.

The list is understood to contain pledges to raise more in tax from the country’s top earners and from a crackdown on smuggling.

“In the Commission’s view, this list is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review.”

“We are notably encouraged by the strong commitment to combat tax evasion and corruption” he said.

A German tabloid, Bild, reported that the Greek government hoped to take €2.5bn (£1.8bn) more from powerful Greek tycoons, citing sources close to the hard-left government.

A similar amount would be drawn from back taxes owed to the state by individuals and businesses, Bild said.

However, the document is also said to include commitments on raising the minimum wage and protecting pensions.

The pledges highlight the difficulties faced by the Syria government, as it must be seen to be honouring its election pledges on ending austerity and raising living standards while also keeping commitments to its creditors.

In return for its new agreement in Brussels, Athens had to pledge not to compromise its fiscal targets and had to abandon plans to use some €11bn (about £8bn) in leftover European bank support funds to help restart the Greek economy.

The Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras staged a climbdown on Friday to win the four-month extension.

Tsipras had promised to scrap the program when he won election last month.

EU Decries Non-Implementation Of 2011 Elections Report

Santiago_AyxelaThe Chief Observer of the European Union (EU), Mr Santiago Ayxela, has decried the non-implementation of the recommendations the EU monitors made to the Federal Government after the 2011 elections.

He said that his team made as many as 50 recommendations to the Federal Government but only a few, including the Freedom of Information Law, saw the light of the day.

“We have made recommendations that the Nigerian parliament didn’t implement”, he said.

He added that Nigeria “is one of the most important countries in Africa and so everything that happens in Nigeria is important for the region, Europe and the whole world.”

He maintained that Nigeria cannot be ignored by the EU, regardless of the inability of the Federal Government to put its recommendations into action.

European Union Election Observers To Avoid North-East Nigeria

Santiago_Ayxela
Chief Observer, EU Election Observers, Santiago Ayxela, said the observers would abide by international rules for elections

Observers from the European Union (EU) would not be deployed to the north eastern part of Nigeria to monitor the 2015 elections.

The European Union (EU) Chief Observer, Mr Santiago Ayxela, said this to journalists after a closed door meeting with the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, and party officials.

He said that the observers would not be able to monitor the elections in the north east because of the present security situation in the area.

Mr Ayxela said that a team of 90 European Union (EU) observers would, however, be arriving Nigeria to monitor the 2015 elections.

Some of the observers, according to Mr Ayxela, would be operating from strategic locations close to the North-East region.

Also speaking to journalists, the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd), said that the European Union (EU) has told the All Progressives Congress of its plans to spread its observers across the country to assess the conduct of the 2015 general elections.

He expressed confidence in the capacity of the European Union to add value to the credibility of the elections.

The presidential election holds across Nigeria on February 14.

 

EU, UNODC, NDLEA Seek Regional Cooperation Against Narcotics

NDLEA_NewThe European Union (EU) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are working with the Nigerian government to improve regional and international cooperation in drug control in order to strengthen regional and international cooperation in the fight against narcotic drugs.

This was made known during the visit of the EU Ambassador, Michel Arrion and country representative of UNODC, Ms. Mariam Sissoko to the NDLEA Headquarters in Lagos.

The EU Ambassador stressed the need to curtail the activities of drug syndicates through collaboration, adding that EU is providing funds for Project NGAV 16 – Response To Drugs and Related Organised Crime.

“At inter-continental level, the European Union finances a number of projects as part of the Cocaine Route Programme. The Cocaine Route programme with a budget of over 30 million Euros, covers 36 countries of which half are in Africa, essentially West-Africa, five in the Caribbean countries and the remaining in Latin and Central America” Arrion stated.

UNODC Country representative, Sissoko said that her office is working with the NDLEA to tackle the drug menace.

“We are working with the NDLEA to assist the Agency progress towards an intelligence-led organization equipped to deal with the challenges of the ever changing drug industry. We commend the Chairman and senior management of the NDLEA for decisively embarking on the change management process that is required to strengthen the intelligence-based response of NDLEA to drug matters”, she said.

NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Ahmadu Giade, who received the delegation said that regional and international cooperation is vital to global success in narcotic control.
He also noted that “drug trafficking like terrorism and arms smuggling represents a growing threat to global peace and security. Many lives are being lost on a daily basis around the world. Activities of drug cartels have turned the world into a global village thus making international partnership amongst drug law officers, donors and international institutions inevitable.

“This project demonstrates EU’s willingness to assist countries in the implementation of international drug conventions. It will also provide appropriate framework for regional drug control programmes. The challenges posed by illicit drug cultivation, trafficking and abuse are enormous. We therefore believe that through shared responsibility, greater progress will be made in addressing the illicit drug phenomenon”.

Giade said the project will enhance technical and operational capacity in front line Agencies leading to targeted interventions on drugs and organized related crimes in Nigeria and the West African sub-region, adding that “it will help to manage drug abuse counseling, drug treatment and rehabilitation through the creation of a reliable network of quality drug treatment service providers”.

He also noted that the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2015-2019, a policy document for drug control is almost finalized. The master plan contains new ideas and new control approaches which will be implemented in the next four years.

The EU has procured 100 desktop computers for the smooth takeoff of a Data Exchange Centre, which will help to establish an evidence based approach in addressing the challenges of illicit drugs in the country.

Under the project an institutional assessment of the Agency was conducted which recommended capacity building and improved funding as the way forward for the Agency.

EU urges Nigeria to abolish death penalty

The continuous use of death penalty as punishment for crimes such as murder, manslaughter, culpable homicide, armed robbery and kidnapping in some states, under the Penal Code, Criminal Code and Robbery and Firearms Act have been condemned by the European Union (EU) and Lawyers without borders, France.

At an event to kick-start the ‘Save Lives’ campaign in Abuja, the head of political governance and democracy delegation of the EU to Nigeria, Mr Alan Munday says the continuous use of the capital punishment by Nigeria in its criminal justice system is cruel and inhuman and should be discarded.

He urged Nigeria to publish a white paper or other official document on the United Nations moratorium which prescribes the suspension of death penalty as a first step towards its implementation.

However, the leader of the nation’s legal body called for caution in dealing with the death penalty. “We must find a way of fine-tuning the criminal justice that it finds a way to appeal to every one involved in the cases such as the plantiff, the victims, the state and the defendant” stated the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu.

A Lagos High Court recently passed a death sentence on former CheiSecurity Officer to late Head of state, Sani Abacha, Hamza al-Mustapha for complicity in the murder of Kudi Abiola. Lateef Shofolahan and Reverend King are other convicts awaiting the hang’s man.