European Commission releases communication towards a phased and coordinated approach for restoring freedom of movement and lifting internal border controls in light of COVID-19

After months of isolation of several countries within the European Union and the Schengen Area in context of COVID-19, on May 13th, the European Commission presented guidelines and recommendations on gradually lifting travel restrictions and necessary safety and precautionary means. The proposed rules should ensure a safe, timely and workable return to normal operations for all airspace users in Europe and a flexible phased approach, requiring close coordination between Member States and Commission with the objective to gradually lift border controls to ensure unrestricted freedom of movement across the EU and restore the integrity of the Schengen area.

As Member States manage to reduce the circulation of the virus, the Commission proposes the replacement of blanket restrictions to free movement to and from other areas or regions in Member States with a similar overall risk profile by more targeted measures, as a complement to physical distancing measures and effective tracing and testing of any suspected cases.