Alec Hills - May 18, 2020
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The European Commission has invited the Schengen Member States and Schengen associated countries to extend the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU by a further 30 days until 15 June.

"The lifting of travel restrictions should be gradual: as outlined in the common European roadmap on the lifting of the confinement measures, internal border controls will have to be phased out in a gradual and coordinated manner before the restrictions at the external borders are eased in a second phase," explains a commission statement.

Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson emphasized: "We need a step-by-step and coordinated approach. Restoring the normal functioning of free movement in the Schengen area will be our first objective as soon as the health situation permits.”

Restriction for All Schengen Member States

"We will have to gradually put an end to restrictions on freedom of movement and internal border controls before we can lift entry restrictions at the external borders and guarantee access to the EU for third-country nationals".

The border closure, as well as the invitation to extend it, applies to the "EU+ zone", which includes all the member states of the Schengen area (including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania), as well as the four countries associated with the Schengen area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), i.e. 30 countries in total.

The Commission highlights that "action at the external borders can only be effective if it is implemented by all EU member states and Schengen states at all borders, with the end of the action being set at the same date and in a uniform manner".

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