Insight | May 2020
Many member states of the European Union have launched their exit plans based on regions. As the incidence of the virus decreases, mobility between these regions will normalise, following a “green zoning” strategy, similar to the one we proposed in our previous #PolicyInsight. In this #PolicyInsight we propose to elevate the green zoning approach to the level of the European Union. The idea is simple: allowing the mobility of people between “green zones” of different European countries through a network of regions certified by European institutions.
If well communicated and with sufficient guarantees, this proposal could save the summer tourist season in southern Europe, thus mitigating the enormous economic costs that the closure to international tourism could cause for these countries. European green zones represent a unique opportunity for the EU to demonstrate leadership, creating a win-win situation for all countries, with a huge direct positive impact on the lives of millions of European citizens.
The tourism industry has already been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and a literal cancellation of the summer season would further push many European countries toward a deeper economic crisis.
As most countries are still struggling to contain the virus, as well as with their respective exit strategies, we are heading toward a summer during which international travel might be – if not forbidden – highly discouraged.
Such travel restrictions will additionally damage the already weakened economies of Europe’s southern countries, such as Spain or Italy, because they rely on tourism more heavily than the northern countries. Beyond the direct effects on their gross domestic product (GDP), this could also weaken the fragile balance within the European Union (EU).
How to define the best strategy to exit theCovid-19 lockdown measures is the most pressing question for all major European countries. The labelling needs to be secure and reliable. Therefore, the conditions under which a zone is labelled green, as well as the sanitary measures and mobility restrictions that are implied by each label need to be defined with the consultation of the respective health authority.