Commission urges countries to open internal EU borders on June 15

Commission urges countries to open internal EU borders on June 15

The Commission Thursday told EU countries to lift temporary travel restrictions within the bloc by June 15, and proposed a gradual lifting of the external travel ban starting July 1.

The Commission “strongly encourages the remaining Member States to finalise the process of lifting the internal border controls and restrictions to free movement within the EU by 15 June 2020,” it wrote in a communication.

Some EU countries have already lifted travel restrictions and quarantine obligations, and many others are planning to do so on June 15. Others, like Spain and Denmark, only aim to lift controls later.

“Most of them area already on their way. But still there are some borders that have been not announced yet … so we call on them to do that,” said Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

“I understand that when we say on a Thursday you should open on Monday, it’s quite a short time,” she said. “The most important date is that all internal borders should be open before we start opening the external ones.”

The Commission also proposed gradually lifting a travel ban from third countries into the EU starting on July 1. “At this stage it is not possible to have a general lifting of the travel restriction on non-essential travel” into the bloc, it wrote.

Instead, the Commission proposed a two-week extension on a travel ban into the EU due to end on June 15, and tasked the Council to produce a list of countries with which restrictions can be lifted as of July 1, according to a series of criteria and a checklist.

“This list should be updated on a regular basis and regular communication should take place with third countries to explain the overall EU process,” the Commission wrote.

Countries on the list should reciprocate by opening their borders to the whole of the EU and the Schengen free travel area. The Commission also proposed putting the Western Balkans — Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia — on the list, as “the epidemiological situation in this region is equal or better than in the EU.”

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