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Battle Developing Over Opening of European Ski Resorts

German government seeking EU consensus to delay opening of ski resorts for the coming winter season.

European ski resort

November 26th, 2020 - The issue is highly sensitive in Europe as some of the earliest Coronavirus hotspots were ski resorts and ski holidays were thought to have aided the spread of the virus around the continent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is leading the push for a coordinated delay to the season opening and has admitted that getting consensus amongst EU countries will be difficult.

However, Merkel is backed by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte who supports a delay to the start of the ski season, but has stressed that Italy cannot go alone and so there is a need for a Europe wide solution.

“If Italy decided to shut down all its ski lifts without any support from France, Austria and the other countries, then Italian tourists would risk going abroad and taking the contagion back home.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

Christmas and New Year is a vital part of the local economy for ski resorts across Europe.

President Emmanuel Macron also backs the move and made clear on Tuesday that ski resorts in France would stay shut until the New Year.

However, two alpine countries are actively opposing the delayed opening. Switzerland, for example, has already allowed its ski resorts to open. The country is not in the EU but skiers unable to spend their winter breaks in neighbouring countries could head there instead.

Austria has also raised concerns over any EU-wide plan for ski resorts, with Finance Minister Gernot Blümel saying that if the EU forced the resorts to remain closed, "then they will have to pay for it". He believes that compensation could run into billions of euros.

Austria's government is already facing legal action over the Ischgl ski village, which was linked to cases in 45 countries after skiers brought the virus home with them last winter.

About The Author

Mark Scriven - Guest Contributor

Mark is a guest contributor to He has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years and has written hundreds of blog articles and news stories over that time. Mark is a graduate of Oxford Brookes University.

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