Recovery of Tourism and Transport: the European Commission and Member States must ensure safe implementation of guidelines

The European Commission published last week a Communication on “Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond”, including a number of guidelines that shall set a coordinated framework for a safe and secure recovery of these sectors in light of the COVID-19 crisis. CoESS has repeatedly called in previous statements for such steps, and highly welcomes in a position paper published today the European Commission’s package of recommendations. As a next step, the European Commission and Member States must ensure their safe implementation.

Already in a statement on 29 April, CoESS called on the EU to provide (1) targeted aid to the tourism and transport sectors; (2) common guidelines that ensure a safe and secure return to freedom of movement and tourism within the Schengen Zone; and (3) better engagement of competent authorities with private security associations to support this process. With last week’s tourism and transport package, the European Commission for its part has now delivered with a very valuable set of recommendations to ensure a safe and secure restoration of transport services and tourism.

CoESS strongly agrees with the Commission that Member States must now (1) support the travel and tourism sectors financially in the implementation of public health and safety measures, and (2) genuinely cooperate with actors in the transport and tourism ecosystems to implement the guidelines. We also underline the Commission’s statement that the implementation of containment measures, as well as their easing, must at no time lead to a reduction of the high levels of EU safety and security standards in transport to avoid adding safety or security issues on top of the challenges we are facing due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

What is still missing in many countries and at EU-level is public-private cooperation for a safe and secure recovery of the economy, which includes private security. In today’s position paper, CoESS therefore calls on the European Commission to establish an EU mechanism that allows for a pro-active exchange of information with private security.

In the past months, private security has been providing essential services by controlling access to supermarkets and nursing homes, protecting hospitals and critical infrastructure. Security guards are supporting the enforcement of public health and safety measures on a daily basis, and CoESS expects that private security will be asked to implement many of the recommendations provided in the guidance documents on tourism and transport – in collaboration with, or on behalf of, public forces.

The European Commission and Member States should therefore engage with our industry and consider our practical recommendations, as stated in the position paper’s Annex, but also in our Joint Declaration with our Sectoral Social Partner UNI Europa. In the years to come, effective public-private collaboration on EU-level will be crucial for a successful implementation of COVID-19 measures and crisis management.

You can find today’s position paper here.