Commission calls for full reopening of borders within EU

A view of the border station Chiasso Strada between Switzerland and Italy, in Chiasso, Switzerland, 3 June 2020. [Alessandro Crinari/EPA/EFE]

The European Commission on Thursday (4 June) called on EU member states to lift all border restrictions by the end of June, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told Euronews, saying the virus situation was “fast improving” in many countries.

“We are coming very close to a situation where we should lift all the internal border restrictions and border checks,” EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told Euronews, speaking on the eve of a videoconference of European home affairs ministers.

“Tomorrow I’m going to propose that the member states should lift all the internal border checks as soon as possible, and I think a good date should be the end of June,” she added.

EU home affairs ministers will discuss on Friday the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the field of internal border controls and the free movement of persons.

Johansson said she was “very happy” to see EU nations beginning to end border checks and open up the EU and Schengen passport-free area again as spread of COVID-19 was stemmed.

As the summer tourist season approaches, several nations, including France and Belgium, have announced the reopening of their borders, with more European nations, including Germany, set to follow suit on 15 June. Italy did so on Wednesday.

But despite efforts to coordinate, the moves have been decided piecemeal at national level.

Sadness on the border as France turns back Belgian trippers

For hundreds of Belgians hoping to spend time with French friends and relatives after almost three months of lockdown, the sunny holiday weekend proved a grim disappointment.

A decision is yet to be taken on reopening the European Union’s external borders.

France, Spain and Italy are among the countries worst-hit by COVID-19.

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