Millennium Post

Germany eases entry rules for 11 non-EU nations

Berlin: Germany says it is easing restrictions on travellers from up to 11 countries outside the European Union -- but not the full list recommended by the European Union.

The Interior Ministry said that, as of Thursday, people from Australia, Georgia, Canada, Montenegro, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay will be able to enter without restrictions. That will also apply to Japan, South Korea and China -- but only if those countries also allow people from Germany to enter. Germany omitted four countries from the list released by the EU on Tuesday of those whose people should be allowed into the 27 member countries and four other nations in the visa-free Schengen area: Algeria, Morocco, Rwanda and Serbia.

Neighbouring Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said his country is maintaining a ban on people from non-European countries entering until further notice. And he said Austria is imposing a travel warning for six countries for the western Balkans -- Bosnia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Serbia -- in view of high Coronavirus figures. Meanwhie, Germany's unemployment rate ticked higher in June, official figures showed on Wednesday, but the rise was slower than in the previous two months and extensive use of a government-backed short-time work programme kept job losses down.

The unadjusted jobless rate, the headline rate in Germany, rose to 6.2% from 6.1% in May. It is up more than a percentage point since March, when it stood at 5.1%.

The Federal Labour Agency said that 2.85 million people were registered as unemployed 40,000 more than in May and 637,000 more than a year earlier.

In seasonally adjusted terms, unemployment was up to 6.4% from 6.3% in May. That rate stood at 5% in March.

Rises in unemployment in Germany and elsewhere in Europe have been moderate by international standards because employers are making heavy use of short-time work programs that allows them to keep employees on the payroll while they await better times.

In Germany, Europe's largest economy, the labour agency pays at least 60% of the salary of employees who are on reduced or zero hours.

The agency on Wednesday said it paid out for 6.83 million people in April, the most recent month for which it has figures. That compares with 2.49 million in March, the month when the pandemic hit Germany, and just 133,000 in February.

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