The European Commission is recommending to Schengen Member States and Schengen Associated States to lift internal border controls by 15 June 2020 and to prolong the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU until 30 June 2020; and sets out an approach to progressively lifting the restriction afterwards.
Given that the health situation in certain third countries remains critical, the Commission does not propose a general lifting of the travel restriction at this stage. The restriction should be lifted for countries selected together by Member States, based on a set of principles and objective criteria including the health situation, the ability to apply containment measures during travel, and reciprocity considerations, taking into account data from relevant sources such as ECDC and WHO.
For countries towards which the restriction remains in place, the Commission proposes to enlarge the categories of permitted travellers to include, for instance, international students. The Commission is also issuing guidance to Member States to ensure that the resumption of visa operations abroad is well coordinated with the gradual lifting of the travel restrictions.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson,said: “Following the lifting of all internal border checks inside the Union, we are proposing a clear and flexible approach towards removing restrictions on travel to the EU starting on 1 July. International travel is key for tourism and business, and for family and friends reconnecting. While we will all have to remain careful, the time has come to make concrete preparations for lifting restrictions with countries whose health situation is similar to the EU’s and for resuming visa operations.”
The Commission is also recommending for travel restrictions for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia to be lifted as of 1 July, given that their epidemiological situation is similar or better than that of the EU. This also follows on the Commission’s readiness to closely associate the Western Balkans region with the implementation of the roadmap towards lifting containment measures.
Where the travel restrictions continue to apply, Member States should ensure that those travelling to study are exempted, together with 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 nationals legally residing in the EU, as well as their family members, should also be exempt from the travel restriction regardless of whether or not they are returning home, as was the case until now.