Most European Union countries will have lifted the controls at their internal borders and the related travel restrictions by June 15, with others due to follow by the end of the month, a statement after a video conference of EU home affairs ministers on June 5 said.
As the overall health situation improves, all member states are in the process of de-escalating and gradually lifting some of the measures that have been applied at national or regional level. This includes the gradual lifting of border controls and the full restoration of the free movement of persons which has been limited due to the pandemic, the statement said.
The home affairs ministers agreed that any remaining restrictions will be based on “objective health-related criteria, non-discriminatory and proportionate”. They will continue to coordinate closely and under the lead of the European Commission.
Ministers also discussed how long the EU travel restrictions with regard to the entry of third-country (meaning, non-EU) nationals should be maintained and what criteria and measures could be applied once the restrictions start to be lifted.
The ministers agreed to a unified approach to the gradual lifting of the restrictions on non-essential travel, which is not expected to take place before July 1, the statement said.
They also highlighted the need for clear criteria for the next steps. “On the basis of this discussion, the Commission will propose a way forward for the lifting of controls at the external borders in a coordinated manner.”
Davor Bozinovic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Croatia, currently holder of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, said: “EU member states and institutions have worked closely together to contain the spread of the virus. Now that the situation is improving, coordination continues to be essential.
“We need to ensure that the lifting of controls is done with proportionality and avoiding any discrimination based on nationality. Only by working together can we provide citizens the certainty they need to get their lives moving again,” Bozinovic said.
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