EU Flags Fly at Half-Mast in Luxembourg in Protest

European Union flags across Luxembourg are being flown at half-mast in protest to the closing of borders across the Schengen Area. Flags will be flown at half-mast until 09 May 2020, the 25th anniversary of the Schengen Agreement.

Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn has criticized border closings since individual countries began suspending the borderless zone agreement due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“These measures would not paint a very good picture on the 25th anniversary of the Schengen agreement, with German police patrolling the bridge to that very Luxembourgish community,” Asselborn said.

Aside from being unnecessary, Asselborn has also stated that the internal border checks are a threat to the very ideals that the Schengen Area presents to the rest of the world. He said that the control measures cannot continue “if we wanted to preserve the European ideas and values built-in Schengen.”

Some localities in the Moselle Valley have flown the European Union flag at half-mast as well. The same type of action is being discussed in neighboring countries like Germany, France, and Belgium.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially said the internal border control measures would be “the death of Schengen.” However, France along with most Schengen countries has enacted some form of them.  

Several Schengen Member States have extended their containment measures until Fall of 2020, and Germany has announced that the country will extend their border control measures until 15 May 2020.

The border internal border control measures are a part of Article 28 of the Schengen Visa Code.

Not all Member States have closed their borders, however. Italy has technically remained open at some borders and most airports. Visitors to Italy must follow strict guidelines for the time being, but their tourism industry will not shut down in 2020, reports. Sweden has largely remained open as well.

The European Commission has also laid out a roadmap for EU and Schengen Member States to follow in order to eventually open up again. The plan comes as a response to the massive economic ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis, and details how countries can start continuing business as usual.

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