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EC has recommended opening the EU’s borders to the Western Balkans from 1 July

European Commission; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – The European Commission has recommended the abolition of border controls within the Schengen area by 15 June, the opening of external borders for the countries of the Western Balkans from 1 July and the gradual opening of external borders for citizens of other third countries according to their epidemiological situation, N1 reported.

European Commission urged members of the Schengen area and associated countries to abolish internal borders controls by 15 June 2020, to extend temporary restrictions on travel to the EU that are not necessary until 30 June, and to prepare a framework for gradual opening.

EC recommended that restrictions on travel to the EU be lifted for citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia from 1 July, as their epidemiological situation is similar or better than the EU.

For other third countries, the Commission does not recommend the general lifting of restrictions as the health situation in some of them is critical. It is therefore proposed that restrictions be lifted for the selected group of countries, and selection should be based on objective principles and criteria, including health status, the ability to introduce measures to combat infection during travel and reciprocity.

For citizens of countries for which restrictions remain, the Commission recommended expanding the categories of passengers who can enter the EU, such as students.

“Following the abolition of internal border controls, we propose a clear and flexible approach to lifting restrictions on travel to the EU from 1 July. International travel is key to tourism and business, to connecting family and friends,” said Interior Commissioner Ilva Johansson.

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