The European Commission recommends that governments lift internal border controls by June 15, 2020. Most of the 27 EU states will have lifted controls on their internal borders and travel restrictions by that date, while some , like Spain, will not do so until the end of the month.
“The Commission strongly encourages the rest of the Member States to complete the process of lifting internal border controls and restrictions on free movement within the EU by June 15, 2020,” signs the EU executive.
Brussels also called on Thursday to extend the temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU until June 30, 2020. “As the health situation in certain third countries remains critical, the Commission does not propose a general lifting of travel restriction at this stage “, says the Community Executive:” The restriction should be lifted for the selected countries together with the Member States, by virtue of a set of objective principles and criteria that include the health situation, the ability to apply measures of containment during the trip and considerations of reciprocity, taking into account the data of organizations such as the ECDC and the WHO “.
For countries where the restriction is still in force, the European Commission proposes to expand the categories of travelers allowed to include, for example, international students.
Brussels also wants the resumption of visa concessions abroad to be coordinated with the gradual lifting of travel restrictions.
“The decision to lift restrictions for a specific country should be based on the epidemiological situation and response to the coronavirus in that country, the ability to apply containment measures during the journey, and whether or not that country has lifted the travel restrictions to the EU, “says Brussels.
Thus, restrictions must first be lifted with countries whose epidemiological situation is similar to the EU average and where there are sufficient capacities to cope with the virus. On the contrary, “restrictions should be maintained for countries whose situation is worse than in the EU.”
This is why “the Commission proposes a detailed checklist to help Member States arrive at a common assessment. Decisions on lifting travel restrictions would affect non-EU nationals residing in a specific country (not their nationals) “.
Brussels also “proposes a coordination mechanism to prepare the list of countries for which travel restrictions could be removed.”
“Member States must take such decisions in a coordinated manner and ensure uniform application across the EU,” insists Brussels: “This will be a dynamic process and the integrated mechanism for responding to the political crisis would need to coordinate further updates.”
In this sense, the Community Executive recognizes: “It will be possible to reintroduce travel restrictions for a specific country if the criteria are no longer met. Furthermore, Member States can still refuse entry to a non-EU traveler who presents a threat for public health, even if they come from a country for which restrictions have been lifted. “
In line with the proposed list, the Commission recommends lifting travel restrictions for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia from 1 July, “given that their epidemiological situation is similar to or better than that of of the EU. “
Brussels argues that as long as “travel restrictions continue to apply”, Member States should ensure that those traveling to study are exempt, as well as “highly skilled non-EU workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the Work cannot be postponed or performed abroad. “
EU citizens and citizens of Schengen associated states and non-EU foreigners who are legally resident in the EU, as well as their family members, would also be exempt from the travel restriction regardless of whether they are whether or not they returned to their homes, as was the case so far.