Travellers from outside Europe could visit the continent as early as 1 July
June 15, 2020
Last Update: 2020-06-15 00:51:10
Europe could restore its free-travel zone by mid-June, and begin the process of lifting its travel restrictions to countries outside the European Union by 1 July.
Almost all European countries imposed strict border controls when lockdowns were issued in March. But as coronavirus infection rates decrease, the walls are starting to come down. While there isn't a unilateral approach and ultimately member states will have the final say on their own border measures, the EU hopes to generally restore freedom of movement within the bloc by 15 June, and to begin gradually reopening its borders to countries farther afield from 1 July.
The vice president of the European Commission Josep Borrell said July's reopening will take into account certain "principles and criteria," and will "be based on a common, coordinated approach by member states." This means that member states will have to agree and regularly review a list of selected non-EU countries that are allowed to enter.
It's not clear when US citizens will be permitted to travel to and within the EU though. Some countries, such as Denmark, have said they will extend their travel ban for a number of weeks, even on countries within the bloc. Then there are countries that have been hard-hit by the pandemic, such as Spain, that only plan to open to visitors arriving from countries where the virus is under control.
EU travel bans are still in place on the US ©FTiare/Getty Images
However Portugal announced that it will welcome travellers from the US, Canada and Brazil when it lifts its border restrictions on 22 June. And US travellers can also visit the UK and Ireland but they are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. But with the situation constantly in flux and the US government advising its citizens against non-essential travel for now, it's likely that a European summer holiday may be off the cards for many US travellers for now.