Several Member States Again Employ Internal Border Controls in Bid to Control COVID-19 and Terrorism Threats

Nearly a year after the introduction of the first internal Schengen border controls, many Member States have introduced such measures once again.

The border closures are an attempt by individual governments of Member States to keep from importing new variants of COVID-19 from the outside, even though border closure of this kind have largely been proven to not work for virus containment.

The following Member States have closed their borders externally to the outside world and internally to other Schengen Member States using the reason of COVID-19 containment:

  • Austria: borders with the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic are tentatively closed until 27 February 2021.
  • Belgium: all internal borders are tentatively closed until 25 February 2021.
  • Denmark: closure may include all internal borders, which are tentatively closed until 11 May 2021.
  • Finland: all internal borders are tentatively closed until 25 February 2021.
  • Germany: land and air borders with the Czech Republic and air borders with Austria are tentatively closed until 23 February 2021.
  • Hungary: all internal borders are closed until 27 February 2021.
  • Norway: all internal borders are closed until 12 March 2021.
  • Portugal: borders with Spain are closed until 28 February 2021.
  • Spain: the land border with Portugal is closed until 28 February 2021.

In addition to virus containment measures, there have been several Member States who have used reasons such as terrorist threats or organized crime as the principal reason for closing their borders to other Member States, however.

The following Member States are implementing border controls for some other reason than COVID-19 to further restrict movement between them and other Member States:

  • Norway: secondary movements at ports with ferry connections with Germany, Denmark, and Sweden have been restricted tentatively until 11 May 2021 due to terrorist threats.
  • Austria: secondary movements at land borders with Hungary and Slovenia have been restricted tentatively until 11 May 2021 due to terrorist threats and organized crime.
  • Germany: secondary movements from Austria have been restricted tentatively until 11 May 2021 due to terrorist threats.
  • Sweden: to be determined, but could concern movement from all Member States, movement is restricted tentatively until 11 May 2021 due to terrorist threats.
  • Denmark: to be determined, but could concern movement from all Member States, movement is restricted tentatively until 11 May 2021 due to terrorist threats.
  • France: movement is restricted from all Member States tentatively until 30 April 2021 due to terrorist threats.

All internal border control measures listed above, excluding France, were introduced on 12 November 2020, making the internal border controls due mostly to terrorist threats effective for 6 months.

All dates listed in this article are tentative. Like what we saw nearly one year ago at the time of writing this article, most ‘ending’ dates will very likely be extended several times, for both the reasons of COVID-19 and terrorism, or whatever else a Member State feels threatened by.

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