The European Commission on Friday asked Schengen countries to extend a restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for another 30 days, until June 15.
Although several countries are slowly starting to ease restrictions, the situation remains “fragile” across the globe and the bloc must make sure to prevent the coronavirus spreading through travel to the EU, the Commission argued. It’s prioritizing opening borders between EU countries before opening up the bloc to the rest of the world.
In a roadmap for the easing of coronavirus restrictions it proposed in April, the Commission said that border checks should be lifted in a phased manner, with easing internal border restrictions taking precedence over opening external borders.
“Restoring the normal functioning of the Schengen area of free movement is our first objective as soon as the health situation allows it,” Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said in a statement today.
“Restrictions on free movement and internal border controls will need to be lifted gradually before we can remove restrictions at the external borders and guarantee access to the EU for non-EU residents for non-essential travel,” she said.
The Commission first proposed the travel ban in March in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It’s been extended once since.
Except for Ireland, all EU countries and non-EU Schengen countries have implemented travel restrictions.