German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn celebrated the reopening of the border between the two countries on Saturday at a symbolic meeting on the Schengen Bridge.
Maas said this was a sign that the Schengen area, a passport-free zone where 26 European countries had abolished internal borders, returned and stressed the importance of “Europe without borders”
Asselborn added that the move showed that “Schengen is not defeated by a virus, that Schengen will come back to life and this is a very important step,”
Relaxation of border surveillance between Switzerland and Germany was also carried out on Friday night. The fence at the border was demolished after four weeks of blocking circulation between the two countries.
It is feared that free movement within the EU will not return for a long time after various member states imposed strict border restrictions when COVID-19 hit Europe.
But Germany plans to gradually reopen its internal borders over the next month. On June 15 the borders with Austria, Switzerland and France will return to normal.
A spokesman for the German interior ministry announced on Friday that EU citizens permitted to enter Germany would soon be able to do so without quarantine for two weeks.
This step is already in force in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany that shares borders with Belgium and the Netherlands. Other countries are expected to follow suit in the coming days.
The new case rate and death rate has steadily dropped since the end of March in Europe’s largest economy and there are only 15,000 active cases of COVID-19 in the country.