I wrote earlier this week that the EU Commission had made the recommendation that the external borders of EU+ should remain closed until June 15. Today, the German Interior Minister said that the external EU borders will remain closed until June 15.
European Borders Closed Until June 15
With the previous border ruling set to expire in just two days (May 15), I had wondered if they would act at this late a point to renew that border closure ruling. The EU had made the recommendation and according to Germany, the member countries are acting on it.
This means that most people will be unable to enter the European Union (and, if it stays the same as the last closure, some other countries as well – termed EU+) until June 15. Internal borders will start opening as soon as May 15 for travel within Europe.
But, many internal EU borders will remain closed until June 15 as well. The difference will be that many of these “closed” internal borders will instead become a little more relaxed. That means some countries will allow others to enter depending on the need and the documentation (like between Germany and France).
There are others that will start to open May 15. These are countries that have handled the coronavirus outbreak quite well (like Greece). Hopefully, the next few weeks will go well and Europe will be able to open after June 15.
It should be noted that the Commission and member countries are very eager to get tourism flowing this summer. It will remain to be seen whether the push is just for internal tourism or from outside as well.
What Will This Mean for European Airlines?
There have been many European airlines that had been grounded with the movement starting up again this weekend and through the end of the month – this included Turkish Airlines. But, while internal flights may resume, there may not be a reason for these European airlines to fly outside of the EU as they had originally planned.
The upside could be for those who are allowed to fly back to Europe. The planes may be relatively empty compared to normal seasonal traffic. But, for everyone else, give it a day or two and start checking with your airline if you are not allowed to travel to the EU during the border closures.
- all EU citizens and citizens of the Schengen Associated States, and their family members for the purposes of returning home
- non-EU citizens who are long-term residents in the EU
The temporary travel restrictions should also not apply to people with an essential function or need, including
- healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals
- frontier workers
- seasonal workers in agriculture
- transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff to the extent necessary
- diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions
- passengers in transit
- passengers travelling for imperative family reasons
- persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons respecting the principle of ‘non-refoulement’.
The countries that are included in this recommendation, designated as EU+, are “Schengen Member States (including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania) and the 4 Schengen Associated States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland).”