Greece, Corsica and Crete removed from Germany’s high-risk list

Germany's Robert Koch Institute is set to scrub popular holiday destinations of Greece, Corsica and Crete from its high-risk list on Sunday, as most regions of France also become 'risk free'.

Greece, Corsica and Crete removed from Germany's high-risk list
The island of Crete is set to be removed from Germany's high-risk list, paving the way for easier travel. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/XinHua | Lefteris Partsalis

In France, only the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and some overseas territories will remain on the list from next week, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)

On Sunday at midnight, a large part of South America will also become ‘risk-free’ once more as Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador and Peru are removed from the list.

In addition, Oman and Namibia will be taken off the list. 

The move will make it much easer for unvaccinated travellers to return from these regions to Germany, since people who are not vaccinated or recovered generally have to quarantine for 10 days on their return to the Bundesrepublik

READ ALSO: Germany declares Greece and the Netherlands Covid ‘risk’ zones

This can be shortened to five days with a negative test. 

However, keep in mind that there are still restrictions on which travellers can enter Germany from non-EU countries. The general requirement is that people need to be fully vaccinated against Covid with a vaccine approved in the EU. 

READ ALSO: Can unvaccinated children travel to Germany?

Norway added to ‘high risk’ list

While the Mediterranean islands are getting the ‘risk free’ treatment, there’s worse news for visitors to Scandinavia as the the Norwegian provinces of Oslo and Viken are set to be upgraded to RKI’s high-risk list from Sunday.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nicaragua and Grenada are also set to be reclassified as high risk.

Since the start of August, Germany’s public health authority has veered away from classifying countries solely on the basis of infection rates. It now considers other factors such as speed of the spread of the virus, the burden on the health system and the access to data on the Covid health situation. 

People entering Germany from countries on the high risk list have to fill out the Einreiseanmeldung online form.

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Why could Germany’s €49 ticket threaten semester tickets for students?

A recent legal opinion suggests that Germany's €49 monthly ticket deal could jeopordise the future of the 'Semesterticket'.

Why could Germany’s €49 ticket threaten semester tickets for students?

Around three million students in Germany have a semester ticket – a special tariff which enables them to use local public transport at a fixed, low cost for a six-month period. The ticket operates on a so-called solidarity model, which means that all students are required to purchase it, regardless of whether they want to use it or not. 

Although the Semesterticket was considered a significant social achievement when it was first introduced in 1991, it has faced criticism and legal challenges over the years. Until now, these have been unsuccessful.

But the Deutschlandticket, which allows holders to use nationwide public transport for €49 per month, could pose a threat to the semester ticket model.

Why does the Deutschlandticket pose a problem for the Semesterticket?

A recent legal opinion commissioned by the Student Union (AStA) from the Technical University of Dortmund found that future lawsuits against the semester ticket model could be successful, because, in many cases, it is no longer significantly cheaper than other available transport options. 

READ ALSO: Who benefits the most (and least) from Germany’s new €49 ticket?

The opinion refers to an argument made by the Federal Administrative Court in an earlier legal case, which said that a solidarity model ticket should only offer a ticket that is significantly cheaper than all other public transport options.

The price for the Semesterticket varies depending on where you are in Germany. In Schweinfurt, in Franconia, the semester ticket currently costs less than €7 per month, but in larger cities like Berlin or Hamburg, it costs over €30, which is almost the same as the new “Deutschlandticket Jobticket” introduced for employees. In Cologne, Düsseldorf, or Aachen, the price for the semester ticket even exceeds €35.

The price difference compared to the €49 ticket could therefore be considered too small, especially considering that students can use it nationwide.

As a result, one university in Brandenburg has already withdrawn from the Semesterticket agreement with the Berlin-Brandenburg transport association (VBB), while a Berlin university has also suspended Semesterticket contracts from the winter semester onwards, and others are considering the same step.

Student representatives now fear that, if local transport authorities don’t make the €49 ticket cheaper for students, the Semesterticket model could be at risk of legal challenges.

“If the transport companies do not make the Semesterticket cheaper, we have to terminate the contracts,” David Wiegmann, the AStA chairman of TU Dortmund, told the German news site taz.

Matthias Anbuhl, the Chairman of the German National Association for Student Affairs, also said: “The solidarity model is a social achievement that is now in danger of collapsing.”

What solutions are being proposed?

The Conference of Transport Ministers (VMK), has formed a working group of representatives from the federal and state governments to develop proposals for a more affordable version of the €49 ticket targeting low-income groups like students.

READ ALSO: Germany’s most popular state plans discounted 49 ticket

According to the spokesperson for NRW Transport Minister Oliver Krischer (Greens), who currently leads the Conference of State Transport Ministers, their objective is to introduce a discounted model by the winter semester, though no concrete outcomes have been achieved so far.

One potential solution could be a nationwide semester ticket that is considerably cheaper than the €49 ticket. This alternative has already been given a name: the “Deutschlandticket Uni” (Germany Ticket for Universities).

But introducing this would require an agreement between the federal government and Germany’s 16 states, not only on the question of whether and how much funding they are willing to provide but also on reaching a consensus on the conditions.