EU Lays Out Criteria for Third-Country Nationals Entering Europe

European Comission Schengen Visa

On 11 June 2020, the European Commission announced that it would further extend the entry ban on third-country nationals entering the European Union. It was originally going to be resumed on 15 June, but was extended to 30 June.

The EC decided upon a set of criteria that will allow the EU to decide if and when the COVID-19 situation beyond its borders is safe enough to warrant travelers from abroad. Based on the conditions, some countries’ nationals will be approved for entry while others still may not be allowed for some time.

The Commission stated that, “The purpose of this checklist is to find common ground between the Member States, and therefore a common approach within the EU+ area, with regard to the assessment whether the situation in a third country and measures taken to limit the spread of the virus are sufficient yet in order to lift travel restriction on non-essential travel into the EU+ area.”

The countries’ epidemiological environments will be taken into consideration when making the decisions. If countries are better off than EU and Schengen countries, then that nation’s people may be allowed to enter.

Methodologies for containment employed are also scrutinized. If a nation handles the COVID-19 through policy in a more productive manner than EU nations in general, then they may be granted approval to travel to Europe.

The new criteria should be used as the basis for member nations’ assessments of third-country nationals and their countries. It is recommended that member nations use the checklist to make their own policies regarding tourism and travel to their territory.

The Commission has recently been seeking to provide adequate and readily available resources to Member States and their people regarding pertinent COVID-19 information. On 15 June 2020 they launched a website called “Re-Open EU” that will provide real-time information on travel and tourism in Europe.

The site should be conducive to the safe and productive re-opening of European nations’ economies. Practical information is provided on the website that details general guidelines referencing personal protective equipment like masks and gloves, social distancing rule recommendations, and details about European tourism. The website is updated frequently, and the information therein is available in 24 languages.

According to the EU website, the “Re-Open EU” website is part of the Commission’s Tourism and Transport package of 13 May 2020. The website is meant to increase confidence among citizens and travelers and “help European tourism resume safely, in line the necessary health precautions.”

The website also provides information patronage voucher schemes that will allow residents and travelers to purchase vouchers that will be available for future use after re-opening. This will boost local economies and put money into the hands of the people that will have to shoulder the burden of reopening restaurants in the harsh economic environment of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Ideally, the guidelines set for the by the European Commission and innovative programs like patronage vouchers will accelerate the EU’s ability to re-open safely and quickly thus allowing residents and travelers to get back to their everyday lives.

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