ZAGREB, June 11 (Hina) – The European Commission on Thursday recommended lifting internal border controls in the Schengen Area by 15 June, opening the external borders for Southeast European countries as of 1 July, and gradually opening external borders for other third-country citizens in line with their epidemiological situation.
The “Commission recommends 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 afterward,” a press release said.
The Commission also recommends lifting travel restrictions for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia as of 1 July, “given that their epidemiological situation is similar or better than that of the EU.”
“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 selected countries, based on a set of principles and objective criteria, including the health situation, the ability to apply containment measures during travel, and reciprocity considerations, the Commission said.
Border management is solely in the remit of the member states and the Commission cannot decide on it, only make recommendations.
For countries towards which restrictions remain in place, the Commission proposes to enlarge the categories of permitted travellers to include, for instance, international students.
“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,” said Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.