EC to prolong restriction on non-essential travel

Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

On Wednesday the European Commission invited the Schengen Member States and the Schengen Associated States to prolong the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 May.

In a statement, the Commission said that 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 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.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said that while there are encouraging first results, prolonging the travel restriction is necessary to continue reducing the risks of the disease spreading further.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, added that the EU also needs to work together at the internal borders to make sure our internal market continues to function properly, and that vital products such as food, medicines and protective equipment can reach their destination without delay.

The European 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.

The EC explained that 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 and a similar trend of passenger traffic can be seen in other modes of transport, such as in ferry, coach and rail transport.

The Commission said that travel restriction beyond the 15th of May would need to be assessed again.