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UK, France, EU Updates On Border Measures

In his address to the United Kingdom yesterday evening, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson outlined plans to carefully reopen the nation’s economy.

Outlining the plans, the British PM said of the way forward: “I must stress again that all of this is conditional, it all depends on a series of big Ifs. It depends on all of us – the entire country – to follow the advice, to observe social distancing, and to keep that R down.”

And Johnson also indicated that “to prevent re-infection from abroad, I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.”

The British Prime Minister also spoke with French president Emmanuael Macron to discuss the “need for close bilateral, European and international cooperation in the fight against Covid-19.”

The two leaders spoke about the need to manage the risk of new transmissions arising from abroad, as the rate of coronavirus decreases domestically.

And in this regard, the Prime Minister and the President agreed to work together in taking forward appropriate border measures. This cooperation is particularly necessary for the management of our common border.

The result of that conversation being that “no quarantine measures would apply to travellers coming from France at this stage; any measures on either side would be taken in a concerted and reciprocal manner. A working group between the two governments will be set up to ensure this consultation throughout the coming weeks.”

EU Extends Non-Essential Travel Restrictions

The European Union (EU) is also “inviting” Schengen Member States and Schengen Associated States to extend the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for another 30 days, until 15 June.

It notes that while some EU and Schengen Associated States are taking preliminary steps towards easing the measures for fighting the spread of the pandemic, the situation remains fragile both in Europe and worldwide.

As a result, the EU said that this calls for continued measures at the external borders to reduce the risk of the disease spreading through travel to the EU.

The lifting of travel restrictions should be phased: as underlined in the Joint European Roadmap —  https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_652 — on lifting containment measures, internal border controls will need to start being lifted gradually and in a coordinated manner before restrictions at the external borders can be relaxed in a second stage.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “The overall objective of limiting the spread of coronavirus via reduced social interaction remains. Despite progress in many European countries, the situation worldwide is very fragile. It is imperative that any action taken is gradual, with different measures being lifted in different phases.”

And Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson underlined: “We need a phased and coordinated approach. Restoring the normal functioning of the Schengen area of free movement is our first objective as soon as the health situation allows it. Restrictions on free movement and internal border controls will need to be lifted gradually before we can remove restrictions at the external borders and guarantee access to the EU for non-EU residents for non-essential travel.”

The travel restriction, as well as the invitation to extend it, applies to the ‘EU+ area’, which includes all Schengen Member States (including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania) and the 4 Schengen Associated States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) – 30 countries in total. The Commission calls for a continued coordinated approach to the prolongation, as action at the external borders can only be effective if implemented by all EU and Schengen States at all borders, with the same end date and in a uniform manner.

The Commission will continue to assist Member States in implementing the restriction on non-essential travel to the EU, including through regular videoconference meetings with Home Affairs Ministers. Any further prolongation of the travel restriction beyond 15 June 2020 would need to be assessed again, based on the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

 

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