A commemoration of 30 years of visa-free travel to Germany

13. July 2020 09:23, aktualizováno 20. July 2020 10:30, Mgr. Milada Soukupová

A ceremonial act "Friendship and Neighbourhood Without Borders – 30 Years of Visa-Free Travel" took place at the Höll–Lísková border crossing on 1 July 2020, where representatives of the Pilsen Region and Upper Palatinate planted the so-called Friendship Tree to commemorate this anniversary.

The borders are being reopened exactly after 30 years of free travelling as the restrictions introduced in Europe in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic have fallen, said both Ivo Grüner, Vice-President of the Pilsen Region, and Franz Löffler, Chairperson of the Upper Palatinate Regional Assembly, at the ceremony.

"It has become clear in recent months that borders can be closed from day to day, as they used to be in the past. I truly appreciate the open borders and I am very glad to be able to meet our Bavarian friends. The closed borders showed that people from both countries took the freedom of movement for granted, but closing them suddenly made it impossible for them to go to work, on a trip or shopping," said Ivo Grüner. "I spent almost half of my life in totalitarianism, and thanks to that I can compare my feelings then and today. I know that open borders are not a matter of course. You cross an imaginary line and it gives you a feeling of freedom and liberty," said Vice-President Marcela Krejsová, who now performs the function of the President of the Region.

"For thirty years, we have been building a common space that includes the labour market, economy, security policy and culture. We benefited from it and now we have experienced what things did not work because of the closed borders. The closure of the border disrupted smooth running, which proves that we have gone the right way and used our chances to the full for those thirty years. It is important for people on both sides of the border to know that our common space is alive. It is our homeland, our common living space and our country," reminded Franz Löffler, District Councillor and Chairperson of the Upper Palatinate Regional Assembly.

The representatives of both parties planted the so-called Friendship Tree at the end of the ceremony to commemorate this day.