From July 1, third-country nationals will finally be able to travel to the EU after travel restrictions that would by then have lasted for nearly 4 months. The European Commission plans on permitting non-EU and non-Schengen travellers to enter – in a gradual and partial manner – the borderless zone beginning from July 1.
The decision to this effect was announced by the High Representative / Vice President [HRVP] Josep Borrell at the College of Commissioners meeting recently.
In a speech, HRVP Josep Borrell said that the lifting of temporary travel restrictions at the external borders of the EU will come about at a second stage. As per the HRVP, an assessment of travel restrictions will be done, followed by putting forward of “an approach for the gradual and partial lifting of these restrictions” from July 1 with “certain third countries”.
Certain factors are to be taken into consideration in this respect. Along with “taking into account a number of principles and criteria”, the decision will also be based on a “common coordinated approach by the Member States, supported by the Commission”.
Moreover, discussions were also held on the measures taken by the EU Member States at their internal borders as part of COVID-19 special measures and temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU area.
A note was taken of the fact that various Member States were in the process of lifting border controls at their internal borders. As per the Commissioner, the process of lifting of the internal borders within the EU zone “should be finalized in the course of this month of June”.
With the rate of infection lessening in certain Member States, there has been rising speculation as to the resumption of the borderless EU area in general and the Schengen Area in particular.
The need of the hour seems to be somehow finding the right balance between allowing the economy to get back on track while, at the same time, avoiding another wave of coronavirus infections.
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