Countries within the European Union are now opening their borders to each other as COVID-19 infection rates lower. Some EU nations are planning to welcome travellers from specific countries outside of Europe as early as July as well as international students from non EU nations for study purposes. This new phase of reopening occurs at a time when in most parts of the EU, fewer than 100 people are infected with COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants.
In cases where EU members collectively agree that travel restrictions cannot generally be lifted for a non-EU country, the European Commission (EC) recommends that international students are to be exempted and permitted to enter for study purposes: “Where the travel restrictions continue to apply, Member States should ensure that those travelling to study are exempted, together with highly skilled non-EU workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad.”
The European Commission (EC) is recommending that even if travel is not yet generally permitted from a specific country outside the EU that exemptions be allowed for international students as on June 16, 2020. The EC has recommended that as of 15 June, the 27 EU member states as well as Schengen member states reopen to travellers from within Europe as a result of the pandemic’s loosened hold on the continent. However, the ultimate decision about when and how to open rests with individual countries. The EC proposes a coordinated approach to identify some non-EU countries with lower COVID-19 risk profiles; travellers from these countries would be allowed to enter as of 1 July.
* Germany and Italy have already opened their borders to fellow Europeans, while France will open its borders on 22 June.
* Spain plans to accept EU arrivals on 21 June, and Greece’s airports are now receiving travellers from Europe with plans to accept arrivals from New Zealand, Australia, and Japan as well.
* Switzerland, a Schengen member state, is also open to EU travellers, but remains closed to Sweden because of the latter’s relatively high infection rate.
* Norway has also excluded Sweden from its list of lifted travel restrictions, as has Austria. Austria remains closed as well to Portugal, Spain, and the UK.
* Swedes cannot currently enter Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia or Slovenia either – nor can Britons.
* UK imposed its own 14-day quarantine requirement for most arrivals (Ireland is the main exception) – a decision made weeks after most EU countries had taken that measure. As a result, many EU countries are either requiring Britons to quarantine for 14 days or not letting British travellers in at all as yet.