France, Denmark, and Norway Scheduled to End Internal Border Restrictions in October and November

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Several Member States’ internal border controls are scheduled to end in October and November 2021, according to a publication released by the European Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs page.

According to the publication, there are currently two types of internal border controls in the EU, which are “in the context of Covid-19,” and “in a context different from Covid-19.”

Included on the list of countries which have internal border controls due to Covid-19 are:

  • Norway, whose internal controls are set to end on 7 October 2021, came into effect on 8 September 2021, and concern all internal borders.
  • Denmark, whose internal controls are set to end on 11 November 2021, came into effect on 12 May 2021, and could concern all internal borders.
  • France, whose internal controls are set to end on 31 October 2021, came into effect on 1 May 2021, and concern all internal borders.

The above-listed countries have put into-force internal border controls in an effort to try and prevent the spread of Covid-19 across their borders.

Some Member States, particularly France and Norway, are likely to extend their internal border controls, which effectively shut out citizens and travelers from other Schengen and EU Member States.

According to the publication, “Denmark expects to lift the Covid-19 related restrictions at all internal borders as soon as the situation allows for it,” although the details for when restrictions can be lifted are not made clear.

The countries with internal border controls that are not Covid-19 related are:

  • Norway, whose restrictions are set to end on 9 November 2021, and came into effect on 10 May 2021. The reasons listed for these restrictions are terrorist threats and secondary movements, and they concern ports with ferry connections to Denmark, Germany, and Sweden.
  • Austria, whose restrictions are set to end on 11 November 2021, and came into effect on 12 May 2021. The reasons listed for these restrictions are secondary movements, terrorist and organized crime risks, and the situation at the EU’s external borders. The restrictions concern land borders with Hungary and Slovenia.
  • Germany, whose restrictions are set to end on 11 November 2021, and came into effect on 12 May 2021. The reasons listed for these restrictions are secondary movements and the situation at the EU’s external borders, and concern the land border with Austria.
  • Sweden, whose restrictions are set to end on 11 November 2021, and came into effect on 12 May 2021. The reasons listed for these restrictions are terrorist threats and shortcomings at the EU’s external borders, and may concern all internal borders.
  • Denmark, whose restrictions are set to end on 11 November 2021, and came into effect on 12 May 2021. The reasons listed for these restrictions are terrorist and organized crime threats, and may concern all internal borders.
  • France, whose restrictions are set to end on 31 October 2021, and came into effect on 1 May 2021. The reasons listed for these restrictions are terrorist threats and secondary movements, and the restrictions concern all internal borders.

The term “secondary movements” refers to when “refugees or asylum-seekers move from the country in which they first arrived to seek protection or for permanent resettlement elsewhere,” according to another publication by the European Parliament.

The Schengen Borders Code (SBC) provides Member States with the option to temporarily introduce internal border controls in the event that there is a substantial threat to public health or internal security.

Internal border controls must, according to the SBC, be only employed as a last resort in exceptional situations and must respect the principle of proportionality. The duration of the controls bust be “the bare minimum needed to respond to the threat in question,” according to the publication.

Although many of these internal border controls are likely to be extended, Schengen-Visa.com reports that they are set to end in two months or less, and could present opportunity for European and third country travelers and businesspeople alike to visit these countries for various reasons.

To read the Commission’s publication on internal border controls, click this link.

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