After almost four months, travellers from third-countries will finally be eligible to travel to the Schengen Area. Starting from July 1, the European Commission will start permitting non-EU and non-Schengen travellers to enter the borderless territory, gradually and partially.
The decision was announced by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the College of Commissioners meeting today.
“The lifting of temporary travel restrictions at external borders will come at a second stage. In this respect, later this week, the College will adopt its assessment of travel restrictions and will put forward an approach for the gradual and partial lifting of these restrictions as of the 1st of July, with certain third countries, taking into account a number of principles and criteria, and based on a common coordinated approach by Member States, supported by the Commission,” Borrel pointed out during his speech.
In addition, the College took note of the forthcoming second meeting – it will take place this Friday – of the joint committee on the implementation of the withdrawal agreement and of the high-level meeting between the European Union and the United Kingdom that will take place still this month.
The College has also been discussing the measures taken by the Member States at internal borders in the context of the coronavirus crisis and the temporary restrictions of non-essential travel to the EU area.
“As far as internal borders are concerned, the College took note of the fact that several Member States are in the process of lifting internal borders controls and considered that this process should be finalised in the course of this month of June,” the Commissioner said.
After dealing with these two issues, the main discussion was focused on the Joint Communication on tackling COVID-19 disinformation.
In an informal video meeting last Friday, June 5, the European Interior Ministers have discussed the possible reopening of the external borders of the Schengen Area, as well as the internal border closures and controls, previously imposed amid the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in Europe back in Mach this year.
Throughout the meeting, which was held within the framework of Croatia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Ministers raised their concerns that the pandemic has threatened some of the foundations of the block, as the freedom of movement and the European Single Market. The Ministers agreed that they were not ready to open their borders on June 15, when the EU external border closure is set to expire.