The federal government has sharply criticized the stricter entry rules at the German borders with Tyrol and the Czech Republic in order to curb the spread of particularly contagious corona variants. “
The de facto blocking of the large and small German corner for Austrians is absolutely unacceptable. This measure by Bavaria is half-baked and only causes chaos, “said Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) on Sunday in a statement to the APA.
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg called for “measure and aim” for stricter measures and warned against “excessive steps that do more harm than good. I also shared this with my German and Italian counterparts Heiko Maas and Luigi Di Maio today, ”said Schallenberg. Both the German and Italian ambassadors are expected to meet at the Foreign Ministry on Sunday.
The Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok also intervened with his German counterpart Maas. According to the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was about mandatory testing for truck drivers.
The Minister of the Interior saw “also for the security of supply in large parts of Europe a danger – that of the Bavarian Prime Minister is deliberately negated. Tyrol is not the parking lot of Europe, but rather the most important connection axis between the south and the north of the European states. ”He also made this clear to the Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann over the phone“ in all clarity ”.
The more contagious variant has spread more widely in parts of Tyrol and especially in the Schwaz district than elsewhere in Europe. That is why the entry ban for Tyroleans to Germany came into force on Sunday. Only Germans and foreigners with a place of residence and a residence permit in Germany are allowed to enter the affected areas.
The re are exceptions for medical staff, truck drivers and seasonal agricultural workers.
The re are also exceptions for certain commuters if they are needed to maintain operations in systemically important sectors. You must have your employment contract with you up to and including Tuesday. According to this, Bavaria and Saxony are said to have defined companies as systemically relevant and issued individual certificates that should be presented at the border.
“Entry should remain possible for cross-border commuters in systemically relevant occupational sectors,” said German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. “We take a pragmatic approach wherever possible.” According to the German Federal Employment Agency (BA), 22,000 Czechs and 9,600 Austrians commute to Germany, many of them in the manufacturing sector.
The current situation is “absolutely unacceptable”. In addition, “contrary to statements to the contrary, it is currently not possible to drive through the small and large German corner without stopping”. Someone who wants to travel from Tyrol to Salzburg or Vienna now has to avoid “large areas”. “Such an approach is neither proportionate nor sensible,” said Platter angrily.
Platter’s vice Ingrid Felipe (Greens) was in the same direction, after all, many commuters want to start their work “in a few hours” in Bavaria or Salzburg. But many of them still do not know whether they can cross the border tomorrow and during the week. “We therefore demand immediate clarity for commuters and those passing through the German corner,” said Felipe.
It therefore recommended that those willing to pass through affected choose the train or the longer journey within Austria. People commuting to Bavaria should have a Covid test, a service contract and an ID card to prove that they are gainfully employed. “What the concrete implementation will look like tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday at the border is also completely unclear. Because the German authorities are still missing a definition of the systemically relevant occupational groups for which commuting – with such a confirmation and a negative test result – should then be allowed from Wednesday, “said Felipe, criticizing the German approach.
Meanwhile, the German health minister Jens Spahn defended the stricter entry rules. “We have to give our districts in the border region the opportunity to come to rest,” said Spahn of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.
The entry rules are not about distributing grades for neighboring countries, but dealing constructively with the situation. “And unfortunately it got out of hand in the Czech Republic, but also in Slovakia and Tyrol. We had to react, ”said Spahn.
The controls did not mean the end of a free Europe, as some said. “What nonsense.” He is convinced that Europe will be strengthened if it succeeds in preventing a new corona wave. Too little is being done in the Czech Republic and Tyrol to contain coronavirus infections. However, freight traffic should continue to roll.
Bavaria’s Minister of the Interior Herrmann added in Schirnding that the commuter industries included water and electricity companies or food production, but also companies that produce special jars for vaccines. In detail, it must be decided on the spot.
The prerequisite for entry is then a certificate from the employer and a negative corona test that is no more than 48 hours old. In addition, they would have to register digitally before entering the country.
The controls had started on the night of Sunday in frosty temperatures of up to 20 degrees below zero in some places. According to the German Federal Police, there were neither traffic jams nor long waiting times. “On a weekday, when commuters try to enter, the situation will certainly be different,” said a spokesman for the Passau border police.
The spokesman for the Rosenheim Federal Police Inspection, Rainer Scharf, said in Kiefersfelden on the border with Tyrol: “We actually look into every vehicle and speak to the driver.”
According to the German Federal Police in Munich, more than 500 people were sent back as not allowed to enter in the first twelve hours of Germany’s tightened entry rules. More than 1,700 people were checked, 700 of them at the Czech border.
Because of the new German entry rules, Tyrol wants to control and throttle truck traffic from Italy in advance from Sunday in order to prevent extreme backlogs and a traffic collapse in the Inn Valley. “We will not allow Tyrol to become Europe’s parking lot. For this reason, an ordinance is being issued in coordination with the federal government, which enables us to carry out checks at the burner, ”said Platter and Felipe.
For Transitforum Austria-Tirol chairman Fritz Gurgiser, this approach does not go far enough. In one of the APA’s letters to the State of Tyrol, he demanded that truck transit traffic should be metered “not just at the Brenner, but further south” and that “the metering should already be made known in Verona or even further south on the overhead signs on the A22 become”.
The fear of the mutations in the coronavirus is understandable. But nevertheless the truth is that the virus cannot be stopped by closed borders, “said the politician from Cyprus of the” Augsburger Allgemeine “(Monday).
Italy also tightened entry rules for Austrians on Sunday. Travelers from Austria to Italy have to undergo a corona test and a 14-day quarantine, a new regulation from Health Minister Roberto Speranza provides.
The Italian measures apply to every person who has stayed in Austria for a period of more than twelve hours.