German economy: Reopening EU borders could act as ‘second stimulus’

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
A sign marks the German border to Poland hours after Polish authorities reopened the border on 13 June. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

After months of coronavirus lockdown, the reopening of borders between countries in the European Union will help boost Germany’s export-dependent economy as it tries to emerge from the crisis, according to the president of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).

“The opening of the European borders can also provide stimulus worldwide — so that international trade can get going again and secure prosperity and jobs in Germany,” DIHK president Eric Schweitzer told the Funke Media Group on Monday.

Schweitzer noted that if the German economy is to gather speed again, demand for German products and services needs to ramp up again globally.

“The opening of the EU borders from Monday can therefore act as a second stimulus package for the German economy, and without costing the state a single cent,” said Schweitzer.

The German government Germany announced a €130bn (£116bn, $146bn) financial stimulus package on 4 June to help boost economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The recovery package represents nearly 4% of Germany’s GDP, and follows a first aid package of €750bn in March. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Berlin unveils €130bn package to reboot German economy

Many European Union member states are opening their borders from this week. Germany has now lifted border checks on travellers from most other EU countries.

France today opened its borders to people from within the EU, and Spain will be open to EU tourists from 21 June — good news for the thousands of Germans poised to take summer vacations in popular islands like Mallorca.  

The EU home affairs commissioner last week urged member countries to open their borders “as soon as possible,” and the EU Commission says travel bans on entrants from non-EU countries should be gradually eased from the end of June. 

However, Schweitzer pointed out that travel warnings still exist for 160 other countries — including important trading partners the US, China, and Russia — and demanded that trade should be made possible without having to undergo quarantine on arrival in other countries.

“The world economy doesn't work only with video conferences,” Schweitzer said. “In the export business in particular, it is important to transport goods and goods, to look business partners in the eye when negotiating new orders, or to install a new machine on site.”