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KAI RYSSDAL: The dollar nudged a little higher today. In the past couple of weeks it’s picked up almost a nickel against the euro. Every little bit helps for those planning a Christmas holiday on the continent. European bureaucracy’s about to get better, too. Starting tomorrow, you won’t need to flash your passport at most border crossings. Megan Williams has more on the expansion of what’s called the Schengen Zone.
Megan Williams: Hello freedom! At least after your first passport check. Once into one of the 24 countries that are now part of the E.U. Schengen deal, the European sky’s the limit. Foreign travellers, especially those who need a visa to enter the E.U., aren’t the only ones pleased with the deal. The faltering tourism industry is, too. In Europe, it’s only growing by about 4 percent, compared to a world growth rate of 5.6 percent.
The nine new countries added to the deal are mainly from Eastern Europe. E.U. expert Francis X. Rocca says while it’ll mean more Russian visitors for them, Western Europe isn’t as pleased.
Francis X. Rocca: What you’ve got here is potentially a conflict between politics and economics. On the one hand, this could be very good for the tourism industry. On the other hand, the people in Western Europe countries are not happy about the frontier with the poorer Eastern countries being moved farther east.
Next year, Switzerland will open its borders. That’ll leave England and Ireland as the only E.U. countries closed to the deal.
I’m Megan Williams for Marketplace.
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