EU asks member states to extend external border closure

 Friday, April 10, 2020 


The European Commission (EU) recently invited the European states that are part of the Schengen Area as well as the associated states to extend the closure of the external border for all non-essential travel through May 15.



The decision arrived after the commission assessed that these countries are still exposed to the coronavirus pandemic. The commission wanted to organise a coordinated approach that requires the extension of external border closure in a uniform manner.



Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life mentioned that all Member States and the Associated States have successfully implemented social distancing measures to limit social interaction and curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.



She mentioned that the restriction on non-essential travel from third counties to the EU complements these measures at the EU’s external borders. She informed that encouraging first results have already been witnessed and prolonged travel restriction is necessary to continue reducing the risks of the disease spreading further. She said that while the citizens are securing their house, the door should not yet be opened.



Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs added in a statement that the current situation compels the EU to call for an extension of the restriction measures on non-essential travel to the EU. She mentioned that alongside coordinated action at the external borders, working together is also essential at the internal borders. She informed that this would ensure that the internal market continues to function properly and that vital products such as food, medicines and protective equipment can reach their destination without delay. She also assured that the commission will continue to assisting the Member States in all similar strands of work.



According to a press release of the European Commission after the execution of the EU travel restrictions, air passenger traffic in the block has been almost reduced to zero. It also mentioned that remaining flights are mainly limited to cargo transport and rescue operations. It also explains that the Commission will continue to assist the Member States in the implementation of the travel restrictions, through regular discussions in videoconference meetings with Home Affairs Ministers.



As of now, all Schengen Member states and the four Schengen Associated States – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – have applied the travel restrictions as agreed by the European Commission and the European Council on March 17.  Further extension of the travel restriction beyond May 15 seems likely but is subjected to further assessment based on the evolution of the pandemic situation.



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