There is outrage in Luxembourg after some of its citizens were fined by France for inadvertently straying across the frontier.
The Luxembourg Times reports that unnamed residents of the border village of Rumelange unwittingly wandered into territory belonging to Ottange, the village just across the border in France.
They had strayed across the border without an Attestation de déplacement et de voyage – the certificate required for international travel into France.
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Worse still, they were in a public park in the department of Moselle on a Sunday, breaching the local ban on access to open spaces at weekends.
The penalty is unknown. The Foreign Office warns British travellers to France: “Fines are becoming increasingly severe, especially for repeat offenders.”
Back in Rumelange, the mayor, Henri Haine, lamented that “even the old European countries had not been able to stick together,” while a left-wing politician, Marco Heil, called the incident a “mess”.
The Luxembourg Times says that citizens crossing into Belgium in the north of the country have also been fined.
The small Luxembourg frontier town of Schengen gave its name to the Europe-wide zone for borderless travel.
But with EU nations jealously guarding their territory, the notion of a Europe sans frontières epitomised by the Schengen zone has vanished as individual countries impose their own versions of lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many international boundaries within the European Union are still unmarked, leading to cross-border disputes.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is easing its lockdown this week, with use of public transport permitted for passengers wearing some kind of face covering. Two months ago, Luxembourg became the first country in the world to offer free travel on trains, buses and trams for all.
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