Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte threatened to withdraw his country from the European Union, if the Union approved the proposed tourism plan, which could allow the so-called “green corridors” between countries within the union.
The proposed tourism corridors will allow some countries with low infection rates for the emerging Coronavirus (Covid-19), to open the borders of a few specific destinations until the borders are completely reopened.
Conte said during a press conference on Thursday, “We do not accept bilateral agreements within the European Union that will create distinctive tourist paths,” adding that “tourism cannot be conditional on bilateral agreements, or we will be outside the European Union, and we will never allow that”.
Conte Stressed that tourism represents up to 13% of Italian GDP, indicating that the Italian government fears that these passages will affect tourism in his country, which suffers from the emergence of the emerging Coronavirus.
Conte’s comments come as the European Union discusses whether to allow so-called “green lanes” or “travel bubbles” between countries according to their epidemiological situation.
Conte said that he told the head of the European Commissioner, Ursula von der Leyen, that “these passages will mean the destruction of the European Union’s single market”.
According to Confcommercio, the Italian consortium, the losses to the Italian tourism sector due to the Coronavirus reached nearly 120 billion euros ($ 130 billion) by the end of the year, and 420,000 people with jobs in about 270,000 companies in trade and tourism were also at risk.
The Italian government has allocated 5 billion euros ($ 5.4 billion) to support the tourism and cultural sector in the stimulus package of 55 billion euros ($ 60 billion) to help the country recover from the economic blow caused by the Coronavirus.
Italian Minister of Tourism Dario Franceschini announced that this includes tax deductions for business owners and a leave bonus of € 500 ($ 540) for families with an income of less than € 40,000 a year, to travel within Italy.
The number of deaths due to Coronavirus infection in Italy, which is one of the largest epidemics in the world, increased to 31 thousand and 106 cases, while the number of people infected with the disease reached 222 thousand and 104 cases.