Passenger walks at Brussels international airport. | REUTERS


The European Parliament recently passed a motion for member states to bear the cost of PCR tests. If not, the whole project for boosting mobility will be jeopardised. Discrimination will be implied, as people who have been vaccinated - paid for by member states - will be able to travel freely, while those who have not been vaccinated will still need a PCR test and pay for it.

The World Health Organization has stated that countries should not charge for tests, vaccines or the issuance of health certificates. Some countries are following what the WHO has stipulated, but not all of them by any means.

Europe’s two leading tourist countries are France and Spain. One of them has said that it will pay for tests, the other has said that it will not. Spain’s tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, is hopeful that the country can this year attract just over half the number of foreign tourists who came in 2019 - 45 million as opposed to almost 84 million.

On this basis, she has explained, it would be unfeasible to pay for PCRs for all tourists who come to Spain. “There are other priorities for public money, such as ERTE.”

That’s a valid point, but the more that tourism can be guaranteed, the less will be the cost of ERTE. Sra. Maroto must be hoping that everyone will get vaccinated, then the cost of PCRs won’t matter. Meanwhile, so much for the principle of non-discrimination.