The external borders of the European Union are to be opened in stages from July 1.
The European Commission (EC) urges all EU member states to open internal borders by June 15. It also recommends that the gradual opening of the external borders commence on 1 July, in particular by drawing up a common list of States whose nationals will be the first to enter the EU. This was stated in a statement issued by the EC on Thursday.
“Some member countries have already lifted the restrictions within the EU, while others plan to do so from June 15, 2020. The EC urges the remaining member states to complete the process of lifting restrictions on free movement and removing internal border controls within the EU by 15 June 2020”, – the document says.
When asked by journalists whether the EC position is known to countries that do not intend to open borders by 15 June, such as Spain and Portugal, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ilva Johansson replied: “The most important thing that EU states should understand is that all internal borders should be opened before the external borders are opened. This is the most important thing”.
“With the removal of all border controls within the EU, we offer a clear and flexible approach to the removal of EU entry restrictions starting from July 1. International travel is key for tourism and business, as well as for reuniting family and friends”, – Johansson said.
The EC statement stresses that the EU countries should compile a common list of states for which external borders will be opened in the first place. The main criterion here will be the epidemiological situation in a particular third country.
“As travelers entering the EU can move freely from one country to another, it is crucial that member states coordinate their decisions on lifting travel restrictions. That is why Member States should agree on a common list of non-EU countries for which travel restrictions may be lifted as of July 1”, – the document says.
According to the Commissioner, this list will be constantly expanded.
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“The list will be expanded, maybe not every day, but every week”, – she added.