The European Commission on Friday invited Schengen member states and Schengen associated states to prolong the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until June 15.
While some EU and Schengen associated states are taking their first cautious steps to ease social distancing measures within their territories, the overall objective of limiting the spread of coronavirus via reduced social interaction remains.
Moreover, the situation in Europe, as well as the situation worldwide, remains very fragile and it cannot be excluded that measures may need to be reintroduced in the event of a resurgence in infections, the European Commission said.
The joint roadmap proposes a phased approach to the opening of our internal and external borders, with the aim of eventually returning to unrestricted free movement and the normal functioning of the Schengen area.
Internal border controls will need to start being lifted gradually and in a coordinated manner before, in a second stage, temporary restrictions at the external borders can be relaxed and non-EU residents can resume non-essential travel to the EU, the Commission added.
The travel restriction, as well as the invitation to extend it, applies to the 'EU+ area', which includes all Schengen member states, including Estonia, as well as Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania, and the four Schengen associated states, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland - 30 countries in total.
Editor: Helen Wright