EBI is aiming to inform the recreational boating industry about the developments regarding the measures to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak at EU level, as well as its advocacy activities. All information is updated regularly (highlighted in green) and provided freely. EBI is fully available to support and all contact can be directed to the Secretary General (pe(a)europeanboatingindustry.eu). For national support measures, we advise you to contact national associations.
1. Industry position & Advocacy
European Tourism Manifesto alliance statement on EU Tourism Package (20 May 2020)
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector of which EBI is a member, has issued a statement on the European Commission’s Tourism package. It highlights that the package represents a first and important step to facilitate travel and tourism in Europe, support the sector’s recovery from the crisis and enable a more sustainable tourism ecosystem in the future. It calls for a swift implementation and further measures to ensure that the tourism industry can restart and recover. The full statement can be found here.
Joint policy paper by European boating industry associations to address COVID-19 outbreak (9 April 2020)
The policy paper, signed by 20 associations, calls on the EU institutions and national governments to support the sector and protect jobs against the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. It calls for swift measures to help companies survive the immediate crisis and actions to support recovery and stimulate demand.
The full paper can be found here.
European tourism sector demands urgent supportive measures to reduce devastating impact of COVID-19 (17 March 2020)
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector issued a statement on the need for urgent measures to limit the COVID-19 outbreak’s impact. EBI is a member of the coalition and fully supports the statement.
The full statement can be found here.
2. Exit and Recovery measures
Internal Market Commissioner Breton lays out industrial recovery plan (24 April 2020)
At the hearing of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy on the impact of COVID-19, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton provided further information on the “European industrial recovery plan”. He aims for this to be focused on industrial ecosystems that are substantially hit by the impact of COVID-19. Among them will be the tourism industry where the Commission is analysing the funding and regulatory needs. A wide-ranging plan for tourism with action will be taken as soon as possible due to the upcoming summer season. He called for the highest degree of European cooperation on ship building and other manufacturing industries. Europe would have to be as ambitious as the US and China in its economic response. Both SMEs and larger companies would have to be supported. Three key components must underpin the work: greening, digital, and resilience. The full speech of Commissioner Breton can be found here.
EU roadmap for recovery (23 April 2020)
EU leaders welcomed the joint Roadmap for Recovery at the meeting of the European Council presented by the Presidents of the European Commission and European Council. It lays out the main principles for a joint approach to recovery. Even though it does not yet mention any concrete figures (these shall be soon proposed by the Commission), the document includes a strong investment component – with the confirmation of an upcoming comprehensive recovery package with the EU budget at its heart for a “Marshall-Plan type investment effort”. The full roadmap can be found here.
European Parliament resolution for EU coordinated action to combat COVID-19 (17 April 2020)
In its plenary session, the European Parliament voted on a resolution on the EU’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It called on the Member States and EU institutions to act jointly in the next stage of tackling the outbreak. It calls for a substantial recovery and reconstruction package to be made available and support the economy. The package should be based around the European Green Deal and the digital transformation and assist in implementing an industrial strategy that preserves core EU industrial sectors. It recognises the burden on SMEs that need to be especially supported. It calls for keeping the internal EU borders open for goods through the Commission’s ‘green lane’ scheme, as well as for cross-border workers. It suggests a specific mechanism for the tourism sector at EU level to protect workers, companies and ensure safety. The Parliament also supports the Commission’s proposal of a scheme to support short-time work schemes (SURE). In the debate, MEPs called for common procedures to be restart manufacturing and industry and specific support for the tourism industry. A number of political groups called for comprehensive tourism action plan.
The full resolution can be found here.
EU roadmap for lifting of COVID-19 containment measures (15 April 2020)
The European Commission presented the roadmap for lifting containment measures at national level. It aims to coordinate the lifting and develop a coherent approach at European level, also to support re-establishment of supply chains and recovery.
The Commission’s roadmap lays out three principles to the lifting of measures: 1) a science-based approach, 2) Coordination between Member States and 3) respect and solidarity between Member States. Member States should notify each other and the Commission before taking measures and adapt accordingly. The Commission issued specific recommendations to Member States on how to lift containment measures. Among them are:
- Action should be gradual and with time left between measures to evaluate impact
- General measures should progressively be replaced by targeted ones (e.g. focus on vulnerable groups, focus on mild cases)
- Gradual return of necessary economic activities (intensified and regular cleaning, provision of measures and equipment to protect workers and customers)
- Lifting of measures should start at local level and then be gradually rolled out across countries
- The EU’s internal borders should be lifted first, based on the situation in border regions and in a second step proceed with external borders
- Re-start of economic activity should be gradual with an initial focus on less endangered groups and sectors that are essential to facilitate economic activity
- Several models for re-start of economic activity are suggested (jobs with low interpersonal contact, jobs suitable for teleworking, economic importance, shifts of workers, etc.)
- Gatherings of people should be progressively permitted depending on the type of activity
- The gradual reintroduction of transport should take into account the risk level, lower-risk, individualised transport (e.g. private cars) should be allowed as soon as possible
- Use of non-medical facemasks in public is advised as useful, especially in confined spaces
- Action should be continuously monitored, and preparedness developed for returning to stricter containment measures if necessary
The Commission will also publish more detailed guidance on how to progressively restore transport services, connectivity and free movement as swiftly as the health situation allows it, also in view of planning summer holiday travel. The Commission will create a rapid alert function to identify supply and value chain disruptions, relying among others on trade associations. EBI will work with the Commission to provide input on supply chain issues for the boating industry.
Member States are not obliged to follow the roadmap but have agreed on the necessity to coordinate and are expected to follow the recommendations. The full roadmap can be found here. For an overview of current restriction measures at national level, please click here.
3. Economic and fiscal measures
Council adopts SURE instrument as temporary support for short-time work schemes (19 May 2020)
The Council of the EU (in which EU countries are represented) adopted SURE, a temporary scheme which can provide up to €100 billion of loans under favourable terms to EU countries. The instrument enables countries to request EU financial support to help finance national short-time work schemes and similar measures. It is one of the three safety nets, worth €540 billion, for jobs and workers, businesses and member states at EU level. Financial support to Member States will become available once Member States have committed and signed their guarantee agreements with the Commission. More information can be found here.
Agreement on €540 bn package of economic support measures (9 April 2020)
The EU finance ministers agreed on a package of economic support measure for Member States to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. It allows the European Investment Bank to set up a fund of €200 billion in loans for companies. The European Commission’s proposal of a €100 bn instrument to support national short-time work schemes was also supported. Lastly, any Eurozone country will also be able to draw on a credit line worth 2 percent of its economic output from the eurozone’s bailout fund (the European Stability Mechanism) The funds can be used without conditions but must be used to finance direct or indirect healthcare, or cure and prevention related costs. The credit line will be available until the end of the crisis. This €240 billion in credit lines should be accessible within two weeks. The so-called Coronabonds are not part of the package agreed but may be discussed again at a later stage.
Ministers also agreed on working on a Recovery Fund to prepare and support the recovery, providing funding through the EU budget to programmes designed to kick-start the economy. This still requires discussion on financing and structure. They also announced ongoing work on a broader Roadmap and Action Plan for Recovery.
The full package will next be discussed by the European Council of national leaders. The full statement can be found here.
European Investment Fund support of €8bn for SMEs (6 April 2020)
Through EU funding, the European Investment Fund will provide funding to banks and other lenders. These will then provide liquidity to at least 100,000 European SMEs and small mid-cap companies hit by the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. An estimated financing of €8 billion will be available towards the end of April. SMEs will be able to apply directly to their local banks and lenders participating in the scheme. These will be listed on www.access2finance.eu in the next weeks.
European Commission proposes €100 bn instrument to support short-time work schemes (2 April 2020)
The new instrument for temporary "Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency" (SURE) is aimed at protecting jobs and workers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. It will provide loans to Member States of up to €100 billion. These should be used to set up or extend short-time work schemes already existing at national level.
Short-time work schemes are programmes that allow companies experiencing economic difficulties to temporarily reduce their employees’s working hours. The hours not worked are then covered by the governments. The aim is to prevent firms making employees permanently redundant.
Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (26 March 2020)
The Commission has published the “Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative” (CRII) with €37 billion to the COVID-19 outbreak. This will provide funds to Member States in order to tackle short-term financial shocks, with special attention on sectors which are particularly hard hit (including tourism). A Task Force has been set up to coordinate precise needs with Member States and assist them to ensure that money starts flowing as soon as possible. This proposal was approved by the Council and the European Parliament.
The full information can be found here.
Temporary Framework for State Aid (19 March 2020)
The Commission has adopted a Temporary Framework to enable Member States to support the economy in the context of the Coronavirus outbreak. The Temporary Framework provides for five types of aid, which can be granted by Member States: 1) direct grants, selective tax advantages and advance payments, 2) state guarantees for loans taken by companies from banks, 3) subsidised public loans to companies, 4) safeguards for banks that channel state aid to the real economy and 5) short-term export credit insurance.
All state aid decisions taken under the temporary framework can be found here.
4. Measures for the tourism & maritime industry
Meeting of EU Tourism Ministers on COVID-19 (20 May 2020 - New)
Tourism ministers of EU countries welcomed the Commission Tourism Package and guidelines. They expressed strong support for a number of principles to guide reopening of travel and tourism: close coordination at EU level, a step-by-step approach, decisions based on sound epidemiological data, and non-discrimination. Ministers encouraged the Commission to carry out its plans to create an interactive website with real-time information on the conditions and measures in place in each EU country concerning tourism. Several EU countries were of the view that the tourism sector needs swift and targeted financial support at EU level to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, including from the upcoming EU industrial recovery plan. Regarding passengers whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic, several ministers called upon the Commission to provide EU countries with additional flexibility to address liquidity problems of airline companies.
Publication of EU Tourism package (13 May 2020)
The European Commission presented a package of guidelines and recommendations to gradually open borders and allow tourism businesses to restart while respecting health and safety measures. It encourages consumers to take advantage of the summer tourism season and help the EU tourism sector recover. It includes an overall strategy towards recovery in 2020 and beyond, a gradual lifting of border restrictions, re-establishment of transport links, criteria for restoring tourism activities and health protocols, as well as a recommendation on vouchers as alternatives to reimbursement. These guidelines and recommendations are provided to EU countries and companies for implementation.
Throughout these measures, the Commission recognises the importance of on-water recreation, and the maritime and inland waterway tourism industry. At several points, it highlights that leisure boating should not fall under a general prohibition but be allowed following a risk-based approach and implementing specific procedures, such as regular cleaning and disinfection. EU countries should lift restrictions for leisure boating based on specific health and safety protocols. The Commission specifically mentions marinas and resuming activity in these under strict health and safety conditions. The Commission recognises that domestic and intra-EU tourism will be increasingly popular and should be promoted. It sees a strong role for maritime and inland waterway tourism in this.
Meeting of EU Tourism Ministers for discussion of tourism restart and recovery (27 April 2020)
EU Tourism Ministers met by videoconference to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry and how the sector can be safely re-started. The idea of opening ‘tourist corridors’ between EU member states was discussed, as well as need for strong support for tourism in the EU Recovery Plan and consistent rules for both air and sea or land mobility. Many ministers raised the high impact of tourism on economies and connected sectors. There was broad support for additional measures and enhanced coordination at EU level. Ministers highlighted the importance of a harmonised solution for travel and tourism, including vouchers where the Commission was invited to work towards a common EU approach. Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton participated in the meeting and underlined the need for a coordinated approach. Besides other support measures, he also announced that the Commission will propose protocols to guide safe operation of tourism facilities across the EU. His full speech can be found here.
In advance of the meeting, a group of nine Tourism Ministers signed a declaration on the need to prioritise the tourism industry in the current situation (Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain). The letter can be found in full here.
Internal Market Commissioner Breton makes tourism industry main priority (21 April 2020)
Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton spoke at the special meeting of the Transport and Tourism Committee to discuss the impact of COVID-19. He highlighted that tourism was one of the hardest-hit sectors and is essential for the EU’s economy. His estimate is that the revenue losses at European level are 50% for hotels and restaurants, 70% for "tour operators" and travel agencies, and 90% for cruises and airlines.
The tourism sector will be the main priority of the Commission concerning support measures and the recovery plan. He will advocate for around 20% of the Industrial Recovery Plan to be assigned to the tourism sector. He also sees a need to progressively re-open the tourism sector in the next weeks and allow travel under strict rules depending on the health situation in every Member State. This requires a coordinated exit strategy at European level that the Commission is working on with Member States.
The Commission aims to support the tourism sector by providing a safety net and supporting recovery. He also restated the Commission’s position that vouchers could be a viable solution to support tourism companies’ liquidity if protected from insolvency by insurance or state funds. The Commission will issue guidelines on this soon. He also announced a European Tourism Summit in September to establish a roadmap for the future development of the industry.
Commissioner Breton saw the opportunity and need to take advantage and reinvent the tourism sector towards greater resilience while embracing digital, environmental and economic opportunities. Close-proximity tourism will also be encouraged while keeping Europe’s position as the world’s first tourism destination. The full speech of Commissioner Breton can be found here in English and French.
Several MEPs raised the need for a strategic approach for the sector, specific situation of seaside tourism, islands/outermost regions and need to rapidly restart tourism activities. Other issues raised were the need for a dedicated line in the EU’s budget for tourism policy, crisis management mechanism.
Call for support to maritime sector from European Parliament Intergroup (21 April 2020)
The Intergroup of the European Parliament dealing with Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas (SEARICA) issued a declaration to support the maritime sector in tackling the impact of COVID-19. It calls to defend the maritime sector and for urgent action in terms of economic recovery action plans at EU and all levels. It recognises the impact on ports, waterways, coastal and maritime tourism, shipbuilding, and maritime equipment production. The paper was signed by Chair of the Intergroup MEP Tonino Picula and the board of twelve Vice-Chairs.
The full declaration can be found here.
Statement by European Commission on cancellation of package travel holidays due to COVID-19 (9 April 2020)
Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders repeated his call to Member States and travel organisers to find pragmatic and flexible solutions that respect travellers’ rights for cancelled package travel holidays concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. While he underlined the traveller’s right to be reimbursed in accordance with the EU Package Travel Directive, he called for pragmatic solutions to be found:
“Travellers have the right to get a full refund if their trip is cancelled. However, when possible, consumers should consider accepting a voucher that allows them to postpone their holidays to a later point in time, under certain conditions. Such voucher should be reimbursable if not used and secured against possible insolvency of the operator. At the same time, Member States should also consider providing liquidity support to the travel business that allows them to settle travellers’ refund claims, in accordance with State aid rules.”
The Commission specifically refers to the Danish State loan facility in support of the Travel Guarantee Fund as best practice in this regard (see here). Last month, the European Commission published an advisory guidance on EU package travel rules in the context of COVID-19 (see below).
Members of the European Parliament demand response for impact on tourism industry
Members of the European Parliament through the Tourism Taskforce have written to the European Commission outlining the major impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the tourism sector. They call for a targeted response at EU level through a dedicated tourism rescue plan. This should include:
- Clear and specific assessment of impact on the tourism industry
- Introduction of national compensation schemes for tourism companies lasting as long as necessary to support them
- Financial support for the tourism sector under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative
- Special assistance and direct financial aid for regions reliant on tourism
EBI will be providing input to these initiatives to support the nautical tourism sector.
5. Travel restrictions & border closures
Extension of restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 June (11 May 2020)
The Commission recommended to again extend the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 June. It sees this as necessary to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading further. The travel restriction, as well as the invitation to extend it, applies to the ‘EU+ area', which includes all Schengen Member States (including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania) and the 4 Schengen Associated States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland). Any further extension of the travel restriction beyond 15 June will be assessed again, depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak. The travel restriction does not apply to EU citizens, citizens of non-EU Schengen countries and their family members, and non-EU nationals who are long-term residents in the EU when returning home. The full communication can be found here.
European Parliament letter to Commission on nautical products in the Single Market (28 April 2020)
A group of fourteen Members of the European Parliament from several political groups and countries co-signed a letter to Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton. It addresses one of the key problems for the boating industry from the COVID-19 outbreak, which are supply chain and boat delivery issues due to border closures and national policies. The letter underlines the impact of COVID-19 on the sector and the need to allow boat deliveries by all suitable means without undue restrictions. The full letter and its signatories can be found here.
Hearing of Transport Commissioner Adina-Ioana Vălean(28 April 2020)
The Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament held a meeting with Adina-Ioana Vălean, Commissioner for Transport on the Commission’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. The meeting focused on the transport sector with some discussions on the tourism sector. The Commissioner highlighted that the initial border closures and impact on waiting times for transport of goods have substantially reduced to less than 15 minutes in most cases. In terms of exiting the current restrictions, coordination at European level was crucial to allow a smooth and gradual reinstating of connectivity across all modes. The Commission is working on recommendations for each transport mode. A number of MEPs raised issues around the tourism industry and the need to reconnect transport for the start of the summer season. The full speech from Commissioner Vălean can be found here.
Guidance on free movement of workers during COVID-19 (30 March 2020)
The Commission has issued guidance on mobile workers within the EU to allow then to reach their workplace. This focusses on people in critical professions to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, but also applies for all other professions that workers have to reach across borders. The Commission underlined that despite the recently introduced border controls it is imperative that critical workers are able to reach their destination without delay. The full list of critical occupations can be found in the guidelines. The guidelines also clarify that Member States should allow frontier workers in general to continue crossing borders if work in the sector concerned is still allowed in the host Member State. Member States should treat cross border workers and national workers in the same manner.
The Commission urges Member States to establish specific burden-free and fast procedures for border crossings with a regular flow of frontier and posted workers, to ensure a smooth passage for them. This may be done, for instance, by means of dedicated lanes at the border for such workers or with specific stickers recognised by neighbouring Member States to facilitate access to the territory of the Member State of employment.
The full guidance can be found here.
EU border restrictions and introduction of ‘green lanes’ for goods (23 March 2020)
To alleviate the potential negative impact of border closures on transport of goods, the Commission proposed guidelines to secure the flow of goods on 16 March. This included the designation of priority lanes for freight transport (so-called green lanes). The full guidelines can be found here.
These were now further specified by the Commission and supplemented with practical advice. The full information can be found here. All major border crossings in the trans-European transport network should be designates as ‘green lane’ border crossings according to the Commission (see here for the map).
Below are some key measures that should be applied at these crossings:
- Procedures should be minimised and streamlined to what is strictly necessary, and should not take more than 15 minutes on land borders for any type of good
- Checks and screening should be carried out without drivers having to leave their vehicles, and drivers should undergo only minimal checks
- Drivers of freight vehicles should not be asked to produce any document other than their identification and driving license and if necessary, a letter from the employer
- Electronic submission/display of documents should be accepted
- No freight vehicle or driver should face discrimination, irrespective of origin and destination, the driver's nationality or the vehicle's country of registration
- Member States should temporarily suspend all types of road access restrictions in place in their territory (weekend bans, night bans, sectoral bans, etc.)
The Commission also includes recommendations for drivers and relevant transport-related undertakings (loading, unloading, rest times, border crossings). Companies should inform EBI about issues encountered with supply chains and transport across borders. These will be raised towards the European Commission.
6. Production of Personal Protective Equipment
Guidance on production of protective equipment for prospective manufacturers (30 March 2020)
Several companies in the boating industry have changed their production towards protective equipment. The European Commission has now issued guidance for such companies to understand and assess the applicable legal and technical requirements. This can be found below
- Conformity assessment procedures for protective equipment (e.g. face masks) - here
- Conformity assessment procedures for 3D printing and 3D printed products to be used in a medical context for COVID-19 - here
- Guidance on the applicable legislation for leave-on hand cleaners and hand disinfectants - here
This comes in addition to the European standardisation committees (CEN and CENELEC), making European standards for certain medical devices and personal protective equipment freely available. This helps companies willing to manufacture these items to swiftly start production. The standards can be found here.
7. Economic forecasts
European Commission Spring Economic Forecast (6 May 2020)
The European Commission published its Spring economic forecast, the first one to fully consider the impact of COVID-19. It provides a forecast at European level, EU Member States, candidate countries and certain other non-EU Countries. The impact of COVID-19 will affect all countries, even if at different levels. The same is the case for the speed of the recovery expected in 2021.
- The Euro area economy will contract by 7.75% in 2020 and grow by 6,25% in 2021. The EU economy is forecast to contract by 7.5% in 2020 and grow by around 6% in 2021.
- The unemployment rate in the Euro area will rise from 7.5% in 2019 to 9.5% in 2020 before reducing to 8.5% in 2021. In the EU, it will rise from 6.7% in 2019 to 9% in 2020 and then reduce to around 8% in 2021.
- Inflation in the Euro area (measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices), is forecast at 0.2% in 2020 and 1.1% in 2021. For the EU, inflation is forecast at 0.6% in 2020 and 1.3% in 2021.
The Forecast is based on a set of assumptions about the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic and containment measures. The forecast assumes that restrictions will be gradually lifted from May. The full forecast and country-specific information can be found here.
UN World Tourism Organisation World Tourism Barometer (7 May 2020)
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has published its latest tourism barometer with a special focus on the impact of COVID-19. It forecasts the crisis could lead to a decline of between 60% and 80% compared to 2019 figures. It also provides a scenario analysis depending on opening of international borders. The full barometer can be found here and the dashboard with a further specific information per country and region here.
8. Health and safety guidance
EU guidance for a safe return to the workplace (24 April 2020)
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has today issued guidance on returning to work. It also contains links to national information on specific sectors and occupations. The guidance covers several areas, including specific to tourism and transport. The full guidance can be found here.
ECDC guidance on disinfection of non-healthcare settings potentially contaminated (26 March 2020)
The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) has issued guidance for disinfection of environments in non-healthcare settings potentially contaminated with COVID-19. The guidance can be found in full here.
European Agency for Safety and Health COVID-19 guidance for the workplace
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, an official EU agency, is issuing guidance for COVID-19 measures in the workplace. This is designed to assist employers and businesses in providing advice to staff in non-healthcare settings. This can be used by companies in the boating sector to adapt their policies and prepare for resumption of activities.
This can be found here.
9. Further information