May 13, 2020 / 7:45 PM / 3 months ago

Italy warns EU states not to forge limited tourist pacts

ROME (Reuters) - European Union states must not forge de-facto tourist pacts between themselves during the coronavirus crisis, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday, warning such a move could destroy the single market.

European governments are working on plans to reopen their borders at different speeds, depending on national circumstances, with some countries looking initially to reinstate free travel with only a limited number of neighbours.

“We will not accept bilateral accords within the European Union that might create privileged tourist channels,” Conte told reporters. “That would leave us outside the European Union and we will never allow this.”

The COVID-19 epidemic has so far killed 31,106 people in Italy, the highest death toll in the European Union. Conte said he did not yet know when travel between Italy’s various regions would once again be allowed.

Reporting by Angelo Angelo Amante and Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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