In March, the European Union closed external borders for a period of 30 days. On April 8th, they renewed that closure on non-essential travel from outside countries to EU countries until May 15. Now, with just a few days before that closure lifts, the European Commission wants it extended – again.
European Commission Recommends Europe Closed Until June 15
Last week, the European Commission made the recommendation (again) to extend the external border closure for European Union countries until June 15. It was their recommendation back on April 8 that the EU leaders followed when they extended the closure until May 15.
Will the EU Countries Act On This Recommendation?
But, this time, EU leaders are acting slower in response to this new call. With just a few days until the current closure ends, EU member countries have not yet extended this new closure date.
The Lufthansa group is set to begin a number of flight schedules again, both within and outside the EU. This is starting May 18. Greece has banned flights from a number of EU countries and Turkey until May 15. That is about to expire as well.
Many European countries are entering second or more phases of re-opening from the extended lockdowns observed by millions of people. These openings are being done in response to a lower number of infections from COVID-19 in those countries.
For some countries, like Greece, it has gone exceptionally well. Greece is now in the next phase of their reopening as of today (May 11) and looking at the reopening of hotels by June 1, if not a little earlier if more progress is made. The Greek economy needs this brief summer tourist season and they have been working hard to put measures in place and work with other nations on protocols to make it safe for everyone here and those that come here.
So, I am not sure if the extension will be agreed to by all member states. But, if it is agreed to and the European external borders were to remain closed, it would still abide by the original terms on the first closure as to who can enter:
- 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).”
Do You Have Travel to Europe Before June 15?
We have just 4 days until the current closure rule expires. The last extension was enacted earlier than this so it could be something that is last minute, if at all. If you are due to travel to any European country within this zone before June 15, make sure you come back to see what happens and be ready to contact your airline.