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NRW Minister for Europe: "Refrain from unnecessary travel to the Netherlands"

NRW Minister for Europe : "Refrain from unnecessary travel to the Netherlands"

NRW European Affairs Minister Holthoff-Pförtner has called on citizens not to expose themselves to unnecessary risks despite openings in the Netherlands. The SPD parliamentary group proposes solutions such as those currently being tested in Coesfeld.

The North Rhine-Westphalian Minister for European Affairs, Stephan Holthoff-Pförtner, has called on citizens not to expose themselves to unnecessary risks despite openings in the Netherlands. "The infection figures in the Netherlands are still high with a seven-day incidence of 280 - and also significantly higher than in North Rhine-Westphalia," he warned. Therefore, the urgent appeal to citizens to refrain from unnecessary travelling to the neighbouring country, still applies.

"Even during the pandemic, North Rhine-Westphalia maintains a close exchange with its neighbouring countries," said Holthoff-Pförtner and, in addition to joint appeals, for example, by the interior ministers of both sides, referred to the so-called Cross-Border Task Force Corona, which has proven itself for more than a year as an instrument of crisis management and at the same time has set standards for cross-border cooperation. "This includes the exchange of information at least once a week and the joint search for solutions to cross-border problems."

Border commuters and cross-border commuters, for example, would have the opportunity that they would not have to take their Corona test until after entering Germany. Other citizens entering NRW after a stay in the Netherlands would have to present a test not more than 48 hours old upon entry, regardless of the length of stay.

The SPD in the state parliament expressed concern about the events of the weekend. "The pull effect is great when on one side is opened while the other side still remains closed," said parliamentary group vice-president Lisa-Kristin Kapteinat. "I also understand the need. However, we need clever solutions in the current situation," she said. In the Coesfeld district, she said, the model project for gradual openings started on Monday. "There, for example, you only get access to the open facilities with tickets booked in advance. That way, it is open to everyone, just not at the same time. I could also imagine such hourly tickets and clever traffic guidance and parking systems to optimise border traffic with the Netherlands." Minister-President Armin Laschet should develop appropriate solutions with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as soon as possible, Kapteinat demanded.

Mehrdad Mostofizadeh, health policy spokesperson for the Green Party parliamentary group in the state parliament, said that border closures were clearly the wrong way to go. He stated: "In view of the warnings from doctors and clinics in NRW of impending supply bottlenecks in the health care system, it is less important for us to look towards the Netherlands, but rather the government of Prime Minister Armin Laschet is called upon to finally do its homework here in North Rhine-Westphalia." The state government must present a plan on how the incidence rates can be further reduced and kept permanently low.

(Original text: Maximilian Plück, Translation: Mareike Graepel)