The external borders of the European Union will reopen from July 1, gradually. The European Commission confirms the recommendation to Schengen States to lift border controls from 15 June and to extend the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 30 June. The progressive approach to external borders is linked to the health situation of some third countries, which the EU executive defines as “critical”. If the coronavirus pandemic has in fact slowed down much in the EU, it is not so in other regions of the world including the United States, Russia and Brazil. And the Commission underlines that the correct approach to gradual easing and related choices is concertation: “Restrictions should be lifted for the countries selected together by the member countries on the basis of a list of objective principles and criteria that include health situation, ability to apply containment measures during travel and reciprocity considerations, analyzing data from important sources such as Ecdc and WHO “. With some possible exceptions (such as for international students), the Commission also asks its members to coordinate on the resumption of visa operations.
“After the lifting of all internal border controls in the Union, we are proposing a clear and flexible approach to removing restrictions on travel to the EU from 1 July. International travel is essential for tourism and business, because families and friends We will be careful, but the time has come to prepare concretely for the lifting of the restrictions with countries whose health situations are similar to those of the EU and for the resumption of visa operations, “said the Commissioner for Internal Affairs , Ylva Johansson. Emphasizing the fact that the reopening of the EU must be “coordinated and uniform, in order for it to be effective”, the Commission lists a series of criteria to be evaluated in order to decide. And when the list of non-EU nations has been agreed, “it will be reviewed on a regular basis,” he adds. The executive recommends using objective criteria to assess the epidemiological situation of third countries and the ability to apply containment measures and manage the virus. It also suggests flexibility in order to reintroduce restrictions targeted to a specific country if the situation changes. ?
Based on these criteria, the Commission then recommends lifting the restrictions from 1 July for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, “given their similar or better epidemiological situation than that of the EU”. And it asks for exceptions for the countries “not unlocked”, for those who travel for study, for highly qualified non-EU workers “if their work is economically necessary and cannot be postponed or performed from abroad”. Ditto for non-EU citizens residing in the block and their family members, and for citizens of the EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).