German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn celebrated the reopening of the border between the two countries on Saturday in a symbolic meeting on the Schengen Bridge. Maas said this was a sign that the Schengen area, the passport-free zone where 26 European countries have abolished internal borders, was returning and he stressed the importance of a “Europe without borders”. Asselborn added the move demonstrated that “Schengen was not defeated by the coronavirus, that Schengen is coming back to life and this is a very important step,”
There had also been a relaxation of the border surveillance between Switzerland and Germany that was implemented of Friday. Fence on the border were dismantled after four weeks of blocking circulation between the neighboring countries. Free movement between EU states has been a somewhat elephant in the room with state leaders not knowing when to really open borders due the fighting chance it might spike cases of the coronavirus. Germany however, plans to open its borders gradually while it also eases into opening its internal borders over the coming month. On 15th June Germany will be set to open borders with Austria, Switzerland and France.
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A spokesman for the German interior ministry announced on Friday that EU citizens who are allowed to enter Germany will soon be able to do so without a two-week quarantine. The move already applies in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state that shares a border with Belgium and the Netherlands. Other states are expected to follow suit in the coming days. The rate of new cases and death rate have both steadily dropped since the end of March in Europe’s biggest economy and there are only 15,000 known active cases of COVID-19 in the country.