The European territory will no longer be closed in stone. This week, Brussels will propose that the EU’s external borders begin to be opened on 1 July in a “gradual and partial” way, according to the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell. Last March, in view of the unstoppable advance of the pandemic, Brussels proposed to shield the external borders, in an unprecedented move in the history of the club that did not even take place after the September 11 attacks.
Since then, this lockdown has been extended twice. The last extension of this ban expires on 15 June next and, consequently, Brussels is preparing a further short extension of two weeks. During these months, only European citizens trapped in third countries and workers considered essential as diplomats, doctors or researchers have been allowed to enter Community territory.
At a time when the epicentre of the pandemic has moved to other parts of the world, the opening of borders will continue to be forbidden to travellers coming from certain places. As Mr Borrell explained yesterday, the resumption of non-essential travel will be restricted to a number of countries according to the guidelines agreed between Brussels and the Member States. Last week there was a first discussion on this issue by the interior ministers of the 27 and some capitals declared they were not ready for this opening from 1 July and did not have clear criteria for this decision.