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Anjum Shabbir
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16th March 2020
Consumer, Health & Environment Covid-19 Internal Market

Commission Communication calls for temporary restrictions on travel due to COVID-19 pandemic

Today the European Commission issued a Communication to the European Parliament, the European Council, and the Council of the European Union about temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU due to the COVID-19 international pandemic.

In this document the European Commission describes the European Union as the epicentre of the pandemic, and considers that it is ‘essential that the EU and Member States take urgent, immediate and concerted action’, with travel restrictions focusing on ‘drastically reducing incoming people flows at the external borders of the Union’ and ‘discouraging outgoing travel’.

As reported earlier by EU Law Live, the European Commission does not however support some of the internal borders erected in the Schengen area. That is made reference to here: the external travel restrictions proposed by the European Commission would ‘enable the lifting of internal border control measures, which several Member States have recently reintroduced in an effort to limit the spread of the virus. These measures risk having a serious impact on the functioning of the Single Market as the EU and the Schengen area is characterised by a high degree of integration, with millions of people crossing internal borders every day’.

The Communication is therefore essentially a recommendation for the adoption by Schengen-country leaders of a coordinated decision to apply a 30-day ‘temporary restriction of non-essential travel from third countries into the EU+ area’. It also encourages that Ireland and the UK apply it.

It should be noted that is suggested that EU citizens returning home, and individuals of a certain professions (such as healthcare workers, frontier workers, diplomats) and for personal reasons (such as family emergencies and humanitarian reasons) are excluded from these travel restrictions.

Read the Commission’s Communication here.

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