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European Commission invites Member States to prolong restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 May

On 8 April, the European Commission invited Schengen Member States and Schengen Associated States to prolong the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 May. The experience of Member States and other countries exposed to the pandemic shows the measures applied to fight the spread of the virus require more than 30 days to be effective. The Commission calls for a 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 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.

On 8 April, the European Commission invited Schengen Member States and Schengen Associated States to prolong the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 May. The experience of Member States and other countries exposed to the pandemic shows the measures applied to fight the spread of the virus require more than 30 days to be effective. The Commission calls for a 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 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's assessment of the current situation points to a continued rise in the number of new cases and deaths across the EU, as well as to the progression of the pandemic outside of the EU, including in countries from where millions of people usually travel to the EU every year. In this context, prolonging the travel restriction is necessary to reduce the risk of the disease spreading further.

Since the implementation of the travel restriction in the second half of March, air passenger traffic has been almost reduced to zero, with the remaining flights being mainly limited to cargo transport and repatriation. A similar trend of passenger traffic can be seen in other modes of transport, such as in ferry, coach and rail transport.

The Commission will continue to assist Member States in implementing the restriction on non-essential travel to the EU, including through regular discussions in videoconference meetings with Home Affairs Ministers.

Any further prolongation of the travel restriction beyond 15 May would need to be assessed again, based on the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

Parallel and coordinated action at external borders will be an essential aspect of a concerted EU exit strategy and the gradual lifting of the containment measures in Europe.

ec.europa.eu

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