Blog Post

As the Coronavirus spreads, can the EU afford to close its borders?

In 2018, 320 million trips were made between EU countries and almost 2 million people crossed Schengen borders to go to work. Stopping them would cause serious economic disruption.

By: and Date: February 27, 2020 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

The Coronavirus crisis has triggered intense debate about border closings in the Schengen area as a way to contain the spread of the epidemic. Austria stopped some trains from Italy and as the virus spreads the open border policy will be further tested. Whether or not such a measure makes sense from an epidemiological point of view is beyond the expertise of the authors. The Schengen regulation in any case does allow travel restrictions in case of a threat to public health (Article 2(21) an 6(1e) of Regulation (EU) 2016/399).

This post looks at some of the possible economic consequences of border closings. Many workers rely on the Schengen agreement that allows them to cross the border without any ID controls. More than 1.9 million residents from Schengen countries crossed the border to go to work in 2018. As can be seen in the chart below, 0.9% of the employed citizens living in Schengen countries work across the border. The share of cross-border commuters is particularly high in Slovakia (5.5%), Luxembourg (2.7%), Croatia, Estonia and Belgium.

The Schengen agreement’s relevance stretches beyond cross-border commuting to work. In 2018, EU-27 citizens made almost 320 million trips of one night and over to other EU-27 countries, more than 39 million (12%) of those were for business purposes.

When back in 2015 we looked at the effects of border controls in the context of the migration crisis, we argued that the direct economic effects of additional border controls were likely to be relatively limited. The assessment now would be different: Stopping cross-border travel would lead to a major disruption of economic activity. It is therefore no surprise that the EU for the time being has decided not to close borders.


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.

Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

《中歐投資協定》意義幾何?

總體而言,與中國企業在歐盟的方便之門相比,歐盟期望獲得的更多市場准入還相去甚遠。

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: March 3, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

The geopolitics of the Green Deal

Join us to mark the launch of the eponymous paper co-written with the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Speakers: Stefano Grassi, Mark Leonard, Simone Tagliapietra, Jennifer Tollmann, Marc Vanheukelen and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 3, 2021
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

A rushed deal or a rush to judgement?

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) is supposed to improve market access for European companies operating in China and to ensure a level playing field, as well as reciprocity. Does it fulfil such expectations?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: January 27, 2021
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

An EU - China investment deal: a second look

For the moment, it does not look like we have the basis for greater and deeper economic relations with China. However, dismissing China and the opportunities that it creates for global cooperation would also be a mistake.

By: Maria Demertzis Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: January 19, 2021
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Europe's disappointing investment deal with China

Why rush a deal that is so inherently complex?

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: January 4, 2021
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

When and how should the European Union conclude an investment agreement with China?

A look into the potential Comprehensive Agreement on Investment between China and the European Union.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: December 17, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Are we out of the woods yet?

The return to normal may just have to wait.

By: Maria Demertzis Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: December 14, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Europe should promote a Climate Club after the US elections

Time has come for Europe, the US and possibly China to create a global “Climate Club”.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Energy & Climate Date: December 10, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

Towards post-pandemic green multilateralism?

How could we achieve a trilateral relationship between China, the EU and the US and consolidate it with climate goals?

Speakers: Huiyao Wang and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: December 10, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

Europe is losing competitiveness in global value chains while China surges

The European Union owes much of its economic weight to its regional value chain and integration into the global value chain. But the EU’s global value chain role is shrinking, and while EU trade integration with China is increasing, it is mainly to China’s benefit, undermining the EU’s external competitiveness.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and David Martínez Turégano Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 27, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

The impact of the new Asian trade mega-deal on the European Union

Although the economic implications of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) for the EU are modest, the geopolitical and strategic implications are not. With the arrival of a new US administration and the central role of China in the bloc, the EU needs to outline an Asian commercial strategy that reconciles the importance of China and the transatlantic relationship.

By: Uri Dadush Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 19, 2020
Read article Download PDF More by this author
 

Parliamentary Testimony

European Parliament

China-EU economic relations in the era of US-China economic competition

Testimony before the European Parliament on the subject of China-EU economic relations.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: European Parliament, Global Economics & Governance, Testimonies Date: November 17, 2020
Load more posts