Gari Cappelli Reveals When Borders Will Open for Slovaks, Czechs, Hungarians and Austrians

May 20, 2020 - Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli announced on Wednesday that Croatia would open the border to citizens of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria on May 29, and before that, an application would be published that would allow faster flow through the border. reports that Cappelli made the statement at the National and University Library following a video conference by EU tourism ministers, the second held in the last month as part of Croatia's EU Council presidency.

He said that when there are similar epidemiological situations in certain countries, according to the principle of non-discrimination, the possibility of opening borders will be agreed bilaterally.

"We had this agreement with Slovenia and it works for a start," says Cappelli, announcing that the same will be done on May 29 with four or five other countries, about which details are still being agreed, and that will include Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary and Austria.

"The citizens from these countries, for economic reasons, owners of houses, ships and the like, can come to Croatia, similarly to Slovenes, without being quarantined," Cappelli explained.

With the opening to these Central European countries, along with Germany and later Poland, Croatia completes more than 60 percent of its total tourist traffic, says Cappelli, adding that guests from Italy can be expected later.

He notes that everyone agrees that the countries are going to bilateral agreements on the arrival of tourists, and says that most EU countries are announcing loosened measures in the tourism and hospitality sector by June 15.

He also announced that the Ministries of Administration and Tourism, together with the Ministry of the Interior, are preparing an Internet application for the fastest possible flow of citizens across the border and facilitating control, and will be completed before May 29. It will be made for entry into Croatia and will be offered to other countries.

The Commission's Economic Recovery Package on May 27

The meeting of the Ministers of Tourism was attended by, among others, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton and the Commissioner for Transport Adina-Ioana Valean, in the context of the fact that tourism and transport were most affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The publication of the Commission's proposed measures for the recovery of the European economy is expected on May 27, when it should be known how much funding each country will receive, including Croatia, and how much it will be possible to help these two sectors.

Namely, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday proposed the establishment of a fund of 500 billion euro for the most affected regions and economic sectors in the Union. This is financial assistance, not credit, and the Commission should raise that amount through common bonds.

Vouchers were also discussed

European tourism ministers also discussed the issue of vouchers at the meeting, and no consensus has been reached, with some countries supporting their introduction.

“There we were still in some way at odds, this will be discussed in another two to two weeks and then some conclusions will be drawn based on which we will take a common position,” Cappelli said.

Namely, the Commission recently announced that it maintains that consumer rights must be protected, which stipulates that money must be returned for canceled flights if the passenger insists, with the proviso that it is allowed to offer a voucher, but only if the passenger agrees.

Also, the Commission proposes that the vouchers offered by travel agencies for canceled tickets be attractive enough so that citizens do not insist on a refund, which remains an unquestionable right.

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