The European Union intends to reopen its external borders on 1 July.
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The European Commission on Thursday asked the Member States to reopen their internal borders no later than 15 June, two weeks earlier than Spain is planning, so that the reopening of the outside to allow tourists from third countries where the epidemiological situation is controlled as soon as 1 July.
The consensus among the partners of the European Union was to progressively restart the de-escalation in the closure of borders within the Schengen area, so that free movement between the common area would function normally before moving on to the second phase of opening the bloc to third countries.
Brussels believes that the first part of this relaxation of measures is already being implemented in most Member States, so it calls “firmly” on countries that have not yet done so to “conclude the process of lifting restrictions on free movement, and to withdraw internal controls within the EU by 15 June”.
This timetable puts pressure on the time provided for by the Government of Pedro Sánchez, whose last formal notification to Brussels on the closure of its borders expires on 21 June, but may be extended. Spain maintains 1 July as a date for lifting these controls in its de-escalator strategy.
Commissioner for interior Ylva Johansson has justified this request that the pandemic control situation is “increasingly improving” in EU countries, with data “converging” and equivalent measures to reduce the risk of contagion, while stressing that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) believes that border closure within the Schengen area “is not now an effective measure to control pandemic”.
Johansson has granted that he is aware that he gives “little time” to Spain and other countries more than lagging behind, but has stressed that the situation already allows the closure to be reversed, and has asked them to do so “as soon as possible”.
In any event, the Community Executive already has its sights set on 1 July as the beginning of travel between the European Union and third countries, for which it asks the Twenty-seven to lay down common criteria to ensure that only travellers from States where the epidemiological situation is equal to or better than that of the block are allowed.
Brussels therefore hopes that Member States will be able to agree on a closed but “regularly reviewable” list of non-risk third countries whose citizens will be able to travel this summer to the European Union as a whole, since, once they reach a country on the bloc, they will have freedom of movement for all Member States.