The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic led to the introduction of strict movement restrictions between the European countries. In order to prevent the spread of the virus, the singular states have closed the borders of their territories and suspended the free movement in the Schengen area. After several weeks of lockdown and traffic limitations, the member states started slowly reopening their borders and allowing non-essential travels of other EU citizens.
Reopening of internal borders of the EU member states
Restoring freedom of movement after the coronavirus crisis is a gradual process managed directly by the member states. Some countries started lifting partially the travel restrictions already in May – in mid-May the Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) abolished the two-week quarantine and non-essential travel ban between each other’s borders, whereas at the end of the month Croatia opened its borders for citizens of ten EU countries. The European Union recommended to the member states to reopen their borders from the 15 of June; as a matter of fact, most of them lifted the travel restrictions in June. Moreover, each country introduced individual entry rules for citizens of specific EU countries, based on the epidemiological situation on the territory.
Reopening of the external EU borders
The EU calls the member states to gradually reopen their borders to the non-EU countries, where the epidemiological situation is similar to the one in Europe. Although the originally recommended date would be the first of July, the EU is still discussing the list of the so-called “save countries”, whereas some member states need more time to take their decisions¹. However, as border control remains the national responsibility, the final decision on travel restrictions within the national territory will depend on the individual member states.
Information about the travel restrictions within the EU
In order to provide the European citizens with detailed information about the movement regulation in the singular European countries, the EU has launched an online tool called “Reopen EU”. The tool allows the citizens to check the current travel regulations in the European countries for foreign citizens, like information about the possible quarantine or health certificates. The tool can be found on: https://reopen.europa.eu/en/
Sources: https://www.euractiv.com/section/coronavirus/news/eu-delays-decision-on-external-border-reopening/, https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/timeline-of-eu-member-states-reopening-their-borders/