With whom should the Netherlands forge a bond?
Belgian media reported that our southern neighbors are aiming for a corridor with France, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Philippe Goffin, is said to have held initial talks with those countries about coordinated opening of the borders. He expects to clarify this in mid-June.
It is still unclear how people think about this possible travel bubble in the Netherlands. Prime Minister Rutte hopes to be able to say more about the summer holidays ‘soon’, but for the time being a negative travel advice applies to all countries: code orange, only travel if strictly necessary.
According to Rutte, three questions must first be answered: what other EU countries are going to do, what the risks are there and finally whether there should be restrictive measures for Dutch people returning from vacations.
Finding an answer to the first of Rutte’s questions is already difficult. Europe hangs together like a patchwork of different travel restrictions and insights change by the week.
Take, for example, the most popular holiday destination in the world: France. Jean-Bapitse Lemoyne, secretary of state for tourism, warned last week that France “almost certainly has to do without foreign tourists” this summer.
He returned to this in an interview with NOS a few days later: “I would very much like to say to the Dutch, including those with a second house in France: you are welcome again.” When and where is unclear, although it is suspected that France will be divided into virus-free ‘green’ and high-risk ‘red’ zones.
Insights are also changing in Spain. A month ago, the government of the hard-hit country hardly dared to talk about a restart of foreign tourism, but the first plans are now ready. Transport Minister José Ábalos says he wants to open the borders by the end of June.
Concrete plans have yet to be presented. Despite this, the minister’s hopeful words are a huge boost to the country’s tourism industry, accounting for 12 percent of GDP.
Slowly there seems to be more and more possible for the holiday maker next summer. In any case, the tug of war has started.