Sadness on the border as France turns back Belgian trippers
SaintAybert, France: For hundreds of Belgians hoping to spend time with French friends and relatives after almost three months of lockdown, the sunny holiday weekend proved a grim disappointment.
While families with ties in the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg were able to put the coronavirus epidemic out of their minds for a short while, the French border remained shut.
Belgian travellers without written proof that they were on essential business were turned back by French police, despite an announcement from their own government that reunions and shopping trips can resume.
Renee-France Ringard had tears in her eyes as she told AFP how she had hoped to cross into France to see her elderly father in the suburbs of Lille for the first time in more than two-and-a-half-months.
“The police officer told us there had been no coordination between the French and the Belgians,” she told AFP at the frontier, before turning back for the 100-kilometre (60-mile) reverse trip to Brussels.
The European Commission has attempted to coordinate the EU response to the global pandemic, but health measures are a matter for member states and the once largely border-free bloc is now a patchwork of regulations.
Capitals are beginning to relax their rules, hoping they can revive the devastated tourism industry in time for the summer season, but the return to work is just as chaotic as was the scramble to lock the continent down. – AFP