STA, 3 June 2020 - Slovenians will be able to cross the border without restrictions to all neighbouring countries from Thursday as Austria abolishes health checks on its border with Slovenia as the last neighbour to do so.
Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg announced on Wednesday that the country was abolishing border and health checks on all its borders, except with Italy, on Thursday.
Quoted by the Austrian press agency APA, Schallenberg said the regime on the borders with Germany, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czechia and Hungary from tomorrow would be the same as before the coronavirus pandemic.
This means that on entering the country from those countries passengers will no longer have to quarantine or be required to present proof of not being infected with the novel virus.
Slovenia's Foreign Ministry welcomed the decision. "It's good and happy news and the success of Slovenia's diplomatic efforts", ministry spokesman Aleksander Geržina said.
Austria had reimposed border checks on the border with Slovenia, an internal EU border, during the migration crisis in 2015, a move that Slovenia has been protesting against as being unwarranted.
"Slovenia's epidemiologic picture is one of the best and this fact deserved recognition," said Geržina, who said diplomats had been working for about a month for Austria to sea the real picture.
Austria lifting health checks is important so that Slovenian citizens can start travelling freely while respecting all rules related to the Covid-19 pandemic and so that people can finally start planning their holidays as they are used to, said Geržina.
Austria was the last of Slovenia's neighbours to end health restrictions that were imposed following the coronavirus outbreak as Italy lifted border restrictions for EU citizens today.
Croatia and Hungary have lifted restrictions for Slovenian citizens earlier. These are also the only countries whose citizens can enter Slovenia completely without restrictions.
This is because Slovenia has already entered into bilateral agreements with the two countries that make such restriction-free travel possible.
Geržina expects Slovenia will soon add Austria to the list of countries from where entry is possible without restrictions. The government places countries on the list based on the recommendation from the National Institute of Public Health.
Citizens of other EU countries are allowed to enter without a mandatory 14-day quarantine if they have permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia, own property or vessel here, have booked accommodation, or fall under any of the 17 exceptions to the rule.